PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- For the second straight day, Lucas Duda made an impression with his bat, providing the lone run in the Mets' 9-1 Grapefruit League loss to the Marlins on Saturday.
Duda's home run landed near the top of the rightfield berm at Tradition Field. "It's a good start so far,'' said Duda, whose homer overshadowed an error in his first start at first base.
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The homer followed another strong performance in Friday's exhibition opener, when Duda lined a double despite breaking his bat and was robbed of another extra-base hit. "Even the broken bat he's hit hard,'' Collins said. "So he's swinging great.''
Duda is battling with Ike Davis for the starting job at first base. Davis did not start against the Marlins because he is scheduled to play in the Mets' next two games. He is expected to be in the lineup Sunday against the Cardinals and Monday against the Braves.
Outfielder Eric Young Jr. moved closer to playing in a Grapefruit League game. For the first time since experiencing discomfort in his right side this past week, Young took live batting practice Saturday. "I feel as if I'm good to go,'' said Young, who faced closer Bobby Parnell.
Young reported that he no longer feels discomfort, though it's still unclear when he will see game action.
Jonathon Niese and Bartolo Colon hope to be ready to pitch in a "B" game against the Astros on Thursday, pitching coach Dan Warthen said. Niese (shoulder weakness) and Colon (calf tightness) played catch Saturday . . . Veteran relievers Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde will get plenty of leeway as they try to make the team in spring training. "We're going to stick with them quite a while,'' Collins said. Farnsworth allowed a solo homer in one inning. Valverde is scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut Sunday.