Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Collins has no plans for Lucas Duda at first
By Adam Rubin
Justin Turner is starting over struggling Ike Davis at first base on Tuesday night. But Terry Collins said he has no plans of using Lucas Duda at that position, even though it would improve the Mets' outfield defense and potentially get three righty bats into the outfield against southpaw starters.
Collins recently had said he does not want to disrupt Duda's focus by promoting him from No. 6 to cleanup in the lineup. The manager used a similar logic in stating why he does not now want to have Duda shifting from left field to other positions.
Duda ranks third in the National League with a .475 on-base percentage.
"Lucas has played pretty well in left field right now," Collins said. "Now, if I go to him today and say, 'Look, you need to start taking groundballs at first base,' I'm not sure what kind of messages that sends. He's out there every day shagging in left field. And now I've got to go have him take groundballs at first base. That's why I haven't messed with where he's hitting in the lineup, because one of the things I want this kid to do is when he takes the field each day, be comfortable out there.
"Now, can he play first base? Absolutely. I think if something should happen to Ike, Lucas Duda can be the instant guy to take one day of groundballs at be comfortable at first. I just don't know, still being a young player, if I want to juggle him around like that."