PHILADELPHIA - For now, the Mets don't appear worried about a prolonged absence for one of their biggest bats, Lucas Duda.

The slugging first baseman has been diagnosed with a herniated disc in his upper back, general manager Sandy Alderson said before Monday's series opener against the Phillies. Duda is expected to return to action once he's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Sept. 6.

The diagnosis came after X-rays, an MRI and an examination by Dr. Robert Watkins, the same back specialist who oversaw David Wright's rehab from spinal stenosis.

Duda has been prescribed rest and basic core exercises, Alderson said. The first baseman landed on the DL on Saturday with what the team initially called lower-back stiffness.

Duda had emerged from a slump, hitting .299 with a 1.138 OPS with nine homers in his last 19 games. The Mets went 13-6 in that span. His 56 RBIs lead the team and his 21 homers is second behind Curtis Granderson.

Parnell gets ready

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Reliever Bobby Parnell remains hopeful that his stay on the DL will be for the minimum 15 days. Parnell said that the current setback, which he described as a heavy feeling when he throws, was not because of coming back too quickly from Tommy John surgery.
"Three months ago, I was feeling great and ready to go," said Parnell, who has a 5.59 ERA and one save in 23 relief appearances this season. "I wouldn't say I needed more time."
Parnell also confirmed a report that the Mets gave him other options, such as being designated for assignment, before placing him on the DL.

Extra bases

he Mets placed lefty reliever Jack Leathersich on the 60-day DL to clear a spot for Wright. Leathersich is in the early stages of recovering from Tommy John surgery . . . Manager Terry Collins said Noah Syndergaard's struggles away from Citi Field could sway the Mets to skip a start on the road, where he's 0-5 with a 5.05 ERA.

With Mark Macyk