PHOENIX - Lucas Duda has thrived since being named the Mets' starting first baseman, which is why manager Terry Collins has no plans of moving Duda into the outfield.
The Mets placed Juan Lagares on the disabled list Tuesday and may be without Curtis Granderson for a few days. Yet, despite a need in the outfield, Duda will remain anchored to first base.
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"Once again, we made the commitment to play him there," Collins said. "You want to keep him as positive as you can and I think putting him back in leftfield would take away a little bit of that positive glow that he's got going right now."
That glow has been good enough to give Duda the team lead in homers (three) on-base percentage (.359) and slugging (.557). Since being named first baseman on April 4, Duda is hitting .367.
Duda equaled a career high on Monday night with four hits. For the first time this season, Duda batted cleanup Tuesday night.
"We've seen in the past where I thought a little bit his offense has struggled because he was so concerned about playing leftfield or playing rightfield," Collins said. "He's very comfortable at first."
Though multiple contusions kept Curtis Granderson out of the starting lineup, he was still able to participate in Jackie Robinson Day. Granderson wore specially ordered cleats honoring Robinson, who made his big league debut on April 15, 1947. The back of Granderson's cleats read "Thank You Jackie." They will be auctioned with the proceeds going to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. "Unfortunately, I won't get to start," Granderson said. "But they will be on and worn very proudly today." . . . Omar Quintanilla started at shortstop over Ruben Tejada.