Saturday, March 1, 2014
Duda day impresses Terry Collins
By Adam Rubin
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Two days into the Grapefruit League schedule, Lucas Duda already has a number of hard-hit balls.
On Friday as DH, Duda flashed his strength with a broken-bat ground-rule double and also was robbed of a hit by diving Washington Nationals center fielder Eury Perez. On Saturday, Duda started at first base and crushed a fourth-inning homer against Arquimedes Caminero for the Mets’ lone run in a 9-1 loss to the Miami Marlins.
Duda finished 1-for-3 and committed an error dropping a grounder trying to pull it out of his glove on a potential double play.
The homer was a no-doubter in his mind on a fastball up in the zone.
“I hit it pretty well,” Duda said.
Duda arrived at camp last year having suffered a fractured right wrist during that offseason moving furniture into a new apartment. He then hit only .223 with 15 homers in 318 at-bats during the regular season. He was demoted during the summer to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Terry Collins asserted again Saturday that the offseason wrist injury likely affected Duda’s 2013 performance.
“More than he let on, I’m sure,” Collins said. “... I think there were some ramifications all summer long. I don’t know if he ever really felt comfortable, because certainly we know he can hit.
“I really think if you look at the job that he did at that [fitness] camp this winter, he’s lighter, yet stronger. And I think the strength has made a difference in his hands and his wrist.”