Ballpark unable to hold flourishing Duda

Ballpark unable to hold flourishing Duda

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- There is a paved walkway beyond the right-field fence of Field 7 at the Mets' Spring Training complex, where fans can meander from the main practice area to the parking lot.

When Lucas Duda takes batting practice, it is a dangerous place to be.

"We have a set of lawyers that are scattered through the crowd," manager Terry Collins quipped after Duda turned heads Monday with yet another impressive performance in batting practice.

During the early days of camp, no one has rocketed more noteworthy home runs over that fence than Duda, the Mets' 26-year-old starting right fielder. So quiet and reserved throughout his nascent days with the team, Duda has appeared noticeably more comfortable both on the field and in the clubhouse this spring.

"Of all the things that happened last year, one of the brightest things is Lucas Duda saying, 'I can play here and I belong here,'" Collins said. "You watch him in his workouts, he's much more relaxed. He's much more easygoing. He's much more vocal."