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Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy options at 1B if Ike Davis demoted

Lucas Duda watches the flight on his seventh

Lucas Duda watches the flight on his seventh inning home run. (April 7, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

PITTSBURGH -- If the Mets do decide to send slumping Ike Davis to the minors, Terry Collins Wednesday didn't rule out the possibility of using Lucas Duda or Daniel Murphy as his replacement at first base.

The Mets have been hesitant to dislodge Duda or Murphy from their positions, rightfield and second base, respectively. The thinking was the two needed to get comfortable at their spots before the Mets thought about moving them around.

Now, Collins said, that's not a concern.

"If the case comes where Ike's not the first baseman here, you've got to decide who it's going to be because it's not only a one- or two-day [thing]," Collins said. "It would be more an extended period time. Even in spring training, we said if Ike, when he had the illness issue, if he was going to miss more than a week or so, we're going to have to put somebody over there that we think feels good there and can play there and it's not just a fill-in spot. I don't know who it would be. We haven't really talked about who that might be yet."

Duda has been taking grounders at first recently. Murphy started there on May 13 when Davis was felled by the flu.

"As we move forward, one of the things I told Murph when I put him at first the other day is I think he looks comfortable at second," Collins said. "I think it's a position where when he goes out, he kind of fits in there, and the same thing with Lucas. I talked to him in Toronto and I asked him how he felt in rightfield and he said, 'I'm pretty comfortable out here right now.' So that being the case, one of the things we haven't done but we probably need to do moving forward is have some extra versatility."

If Duda moves to first, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter could be the corner outfielders against righthanders. Baxter has batted leadoff the last two games.

"He's been a good fill-in, backup pinch hitter," Collins said. "But there's nothing etched in stone. The way he's swinging the bat, I'm trying to get him in the lineup, get his bat in the lineup."

If Davis goes down, infielders Jordany Valdespin, Zach Lutz and Josh Satin would be the most likely short-term call-up options because they are on the 40-man roster. The Mets are hoping to have shortstop Ruben Tejada back by the weekend.

Davis went 1-for-4 in Wednesday's 3-1 win over the Pirates and is batting .159.

Extra bases

Slumping Andres Torres (.187) was given a second day off . . . Rookie Jeremy Hefner makes his first big-league start against the Padres Thursday night.


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