NEW YORK — The Mets are growing healthier en masse. By the end of the weekend, they will have three new players on their roster, including two they once feared lost for the season. In addition to Sunday’s starter, Jacob deGrom, the Mets welcomed back outfielder Juan Lagares on Friday, and expect to do the same for Lucas Duda on Saturday.
Duda, one of the Mets’ productive sluggers the past three seasons, has not played since May 20 due to a stress fracture in his lower back. Though Duda has been rehabbing at the team’s Spring Training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., he has not appeared in any rehab or instructional league games. As such, he will return cold to a Mets club that expects to use him exclusively off the bench.
“I think it’s a little unfair to ask Lucas Duda to carry us, to get in the middle of that lineup and do what we always hope and expect for him to do,” manager Terry Collins said. “This game’s hard. When you haven’t played it in four months and you’re coming back without any game at-bats at all, that’s a lot to ask. We’ll try to get him in there in the right circumstances, and if we feel that he can help us in the lineup sometime, we’ll get him in there. But we’ve got to be smart enough to know that we’re asking a lot of a guy that hasn’t faced live pitching — let alone Major League live pitching — in a long time.”
Duda was batting .231 with seven home runs in 39 games prior to landing on the disabled list, but he homered 57 times over his previous two seasons.
Duda’s RBI single
NYM@COL: Duda lines an RBI single to plate Cespedes
Lucas Duda lines an RBI single to left field, scoring Yoenis Cespedes in the top of the 6th inning
The situation is similar, albeit reversed, with Lagares. Sidelined since July 28 with a sprained left thumb ligament through which he initially tried to play, Lagares is not currently capable of swinging a bat. But he can run, bunt and play defense, and in that manner the Mets feel he can help them off the bench.
“He gives us that option of a Gold Glover who comes in late in a game and can play center field,” Collins said of Lagares, who won baseball’s most prestigious defensive award in 2014. “He’s been working hard down there. He’s worked hard on his running. He’s worked hard on his defense.”
Lagares underwent surgery in early August, making the prospect of a return sketchy at best. But he managed to do so Friday, almost exactly six weeks after his operation.
“I feel good right now,” Lagares said. “I can play defense. I can run. I can do a lot of things. I’m just here to help any way I can.”
The Mets also could have Wilmer Flores back as soon as this weekend, for the first time since he suffered multiple bruises in a home-plate collision last Saturday. Mets doctors on Thursday diagnosed Flores with left wrist inflammation, giving him a cortisone shot. He was unavailable Friday, but that should change by the end of the weekend.
“It doesn’t feel really good right now,” Flores said before Friday’s game. “But hopefully in the next couple of days, it will feel better. … It’s frustrating, but what are you going to do? I can’t just go out there and try when I’m not feeling good.”
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Source: Mets News / Lagares rejoins Mets; Duda back today