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Duda's the man in rightfield for now

Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets

Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets hits a home run during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. (July 27, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

CINCINNATI -- Lucas Duda originally may have been a few steps down in the order of succession to become the Mets' regular rightfielder. But a lot of original plans have had to be revised this season.

So Duda, the 25-year-old Californian who is among crowds of call-ups from Buffalo, has inherited Carlos Beltran's job, at least temporarily.

"Right now, what I see in the foreseeable future, according to who we're facing and everything else," manager Terry Collins said, "Lucas will be the guy."

In his 78th big-league game Wednesday night -- 49 this season -- Duda went 1-for-3, with a solo home run and handled three fly balls, though his circular chase of Jay Bruce's apparent seventh-inning double into the rightfield corner turned into a triple and eventually a run.

"I probably feel more comfortable at first base," Duda admitted, "and probably more comfortable in leftfield [than right]. It's because I haven't played a lot out there; that's definitely the reason. But, you know, anywhere I can, I'll try my best and see what happens."

Before Wednesday night's game, Collins' reaction to Duda's comfort was, "He better get comfortable really fast. He's got about an hour and a half."

Duda had a big season in Buffalo last year with a .324 average and 17 homers, but when called up by the Mets, had only one hit in his first 34 at-bats before a strong finishing kick, with four homers in his last 12 starts. He was hitting .346 with 10 RBIs in his last 28 games before Wednesday night.

"I'm never going to be Carlos Beltran," Duda said. "I'm just going to be me. It's huge shoes to fill. I'll just do my best."

Collins insisted he is not worried about Duda's confidence level. "I think in the last month, he's made huge advancements in his psychological approach; I think he's fine."

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