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Even after breakout season, Lucas Duda willing to platoon with Mets

Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets

Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets rounds first after hitting a two-run homer in the sixth inning of a game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Sept. 19, 2014 in Atlanta. Credit: Getty Images / Kevin C. Cox

Lucas Duda says he's willing to do whatever it takes to propel the Mets toward the postseason next year, even if it means sharing duties at first base as part of a platoon.

"Whatever will help us win, I'm all for," Duda said during a conference call with reporters on Thursday. "I'll come off the bench or come in late in the game. Whatever it is. Anything to help us win, I think, that's our main goal and we've got to accomplish it this year."

Despite Duda's struggles against lefthanders during an otherwise brilliant season, the Mets intend to give him a chance to show he has improved. Though they intend to canvas the market for a righthanded hitter off the bench, a source said it won't be for the purpose of turning first base into a full-fledged platoon.

During a breakout season that featured a career-high 30 homers, the lefthanded-hitting Duda posted a .253/.349/.481 slash line with 92 RBIs. Duda's emergence helped earn him the honor of playing with an all-star team that represented MLB on a tour of Japan. "It's really something I'll remember for the rest of my life," he said.

Yet for all of Duda's success, lefties proved to be his Kryptonite. He managed just a .180/.264/.252 line with only two home runs against them.

"That's an adjustment I have to make during the season, or even before the season starts," said Duda, who believes he might have been too pull-happy against lefties. "And I think I will. I have confidence in myself."

Apparently, so do the Mets.

On occasion, rightfielder Michael Cuddyer will see time at first base against lefties, an arrangement that would create a need for a righthanded-hitting outfielder. This week's non-tender deadline added a few more possibilities to the list, a source said, including the likes of John Mayberry Jr. and Kyle Blanks.

Mayberry, a one-time Phillie, is a career .269/.324/.533 hitter against lefties. Blanks also has been trouble for lefties when healthy, hitting .244/.342/.409.

Still, Duda will get his shots against lefthanded pitching.

Notes & quotes: A source said the Mets have yet to inquire about shortstop Everth Cabrera, who was non-tendered by the Padres this week. Cabrera was an All-Star in 2013 but has been dogged by off-the-field troubles . . . Daisuke Matsuzaka, 34, signed with the Softbank Hawks of Japan's Pacific League. He went 3-3 with a 3.89 ERA for the Mets in 2014 . . . The Mets officially announced the hiring of Pat Roessler as the team's assistant hitting coach, though he will perform additional duties on staff . . . Tickets for the July 16 Foo Fighters concert at Citi Field will go on sale on Friday at 10 a.m. They can be purchased online at or by phone at 718-507-TIXX.

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