Mets counting on Duda to step up in right field

Mets counting on Duda to step up in right field

Mets counting on Duda to step up in right field
CINCINNATI -- Lucas Duda is not comfortable in right field. He admits that much. But in the words of Mets manager Terry Collins, "he'd better get comfortable real fast."

Though Scott Hairston and Willie Harris both figure to see increased exposure in the wake of Carlos Beltran's pending trade to the Giants, it is Duda who will receive the lion's share of playing time in right. A natural first baseman, Duda played one professional game in right field in 2009, though he did dabble at the position this spring.

As long as Duda can hold his own defensively, the Mets will be more interested to see what he can do at the plate as an everyday player. Exploding into the organization's consciousness after hitting 27 homers over three levels last season, Duda has displayed immense power potential to go along with a noticeable lack of confidence.

"I'm not worried about him," Collins said. "I think in the last month, he's made huge advancements in his psychological approach, so I think he's going to be fine."

Duda entered Wednesday's play on his best offensive run as a Major Leaguer, batting .340 with one home run, two triples and three doubles over his last 53 at-bats. Duda's predecessor, by comparison, hit .323 with three homers and nine doubles over that span.

Duda promptly added his second homer of the season in the sixth inning of Wednesday's 8-2 win over the Reds.

"I'm never going to be Carlos Beltran," Duda said. "I'm just going to be me."