Anthony DiComo is reporting that Mets first baseman Lucas Duda has begun hitting soft toss pitches to get back into the swing of things—pun intended—for a potential return before the end of the season. The Mets are optimistic that Duda could rejoin the club in time for a postseason run. At the very least, those “Duda Smash” t-shirts the Mets gave away on Friday should at least be somewhat relevant again.
Duda’s return would leave James Loney as the odd man out. Following Duda’s injury, the Mets acquired Loney from the Padres for cash considerations, and his first few months with the club saw him far surpass expectations. However, following an abysmal month of August, Loney currently sits at a -0.6 bWAR on the season for the Mets. There’s something fitting about a replacement player having negative wins above replacement, but it’s also not what the team needs as they make a final push for a playoff spot.
Before his back injury, Duda was hitting .231/.297/.431 with seven home runs and 39 RBIs. It was far from ideal considering Duda’s usual numbers, but it’s also fair to assume his injury played a role in his lack of production. A recovered and well-rested Duda could be just what the Mets need to secure a Wild Card spot.