Duda confident he belongs at big league level

Duda confident he belongs at big league level

Duda confident he belongs at big league level
MILWAUKEE -- After he returned from Triple-A Buffalo late last month, Lucas Duda had a conversation with Mets manager Terry Collins. The talk left the Mets skipper believing Duda was better prepared for the Major League level than before being sent down.

"You talk to him now, he'll tell you he belongs here," Collins said. "I asked him when he came back, I said, 'You went down to do some things. ... Do you think you belong here?' He said, 'Absolutely. I'm a Major League player. I know it. I've just got to start hitting.'"

Duda, who homered and drove in two runs Friday, has collected 13 hits in 15 games since his return, with two home runs and nine RBIs. He started in left field and is expected to play every day over the final three weeks of the Mets' season.

Collins said he has seen a quieter approach at the plate from Duda recently.

"He's worked very, very hard to slow some of the things down that he does," Collins said. "He's got a lot of movement up there. Even though there's still some, it's better than it was."

Hitting coach Dave Hudgens also has talked with Duda about being more aggressive in hitter's counts, and Collins said he thought such an approach could pay off quite well.

"We understand the theory, but don't get yourself in a hole," Collins said. "You're taking the one pitch that you can do the most damage. I think if Lucas continues to [be more aggressive], because he is disciplined enough, he'll start getting some offspeed stuff early in the count, which, if he takes them, maybe he'll get in better hitting counts, too."