According to Marc Carig of Newsday, Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is set to begin batting practice on Saturday in his long recovery from a back inujury. Duda began with soft toss practice on September 3, and his progression to live practice suggests he might be physically able to return during the 2016 season. Of course, that return might be aided by the Mets’ making a postseason run, and the deeper the better.
Duda’s return can’t come fast enough. James Loney has seen some success at the plate in the past week after months of slumping, but he’s still nowhere near the hitter Duda is, particularly in the power department. Duda had seven home runs before being placed on the disabled list on May 23, whereas Loney has just six in nearly three months with the Mets.
Let’s give some credit to Loney, though; for an afterthought fill-in, he’s done a fine job—especially early on—and Mets fans should hope he earns a job on a major league roster next year. But with the Wild Card game in sight and the rest of the playoffs just beyond the horizon, Lucas Duda is the first baseman the team needs to make that push. Here’s hoping his batting practice goes well and he returns to his post before the season is over.