Lucas Duda, who has been out for five straight games while recovering from a lumbar strain, said on Saturday that he's looking to return by the start of Tuesday's series with the Orioles in Baltimore.
Although the Mets had considered putting Duda on the disabled list, they've opted to wait and see as Duda has reported signs of progress. Yesterday he ran, took batting practice, fielded grounders, and told reporters that he feels as if he's moving in the right direction.
"I'll go out there and hopefully be available to pinch-hit today and tomorrow and be ready to play in Baltimore. Day by day it's getting better. I'll take it day by day, work through it. Stay off the DL; that's the main concern."
Duda has been absolutely mashing since the All-Star break; acccording to Statcast, no other hitter in the major leagues has had a higher exit velocity at 96.4 MPH. He's hit nine home runs with 17 RBI while batting .267/.347/.640 since the midsummer classic and he leads the team with 21 home runs this season. In Duda's abssence the Mets have played mostly Daniel Murphy at first base, with Michael Cuddyer and Kelly Johnson as other options should the power-hitting first baseman need more time.