Duda Thumping The Ball Again, Another Santana Setback, Hefner Keeps Rolling

Marlon Byrd, Lucas DudaLucas Duda is showing signs of snapping out of his spring slumber going 3-for-3 with two RBIs as the Mets defeated the Astros 9-6 this afternoon at Tradition Field. Duda now has six hits in his last 15 at-bats after an agonizing start that sent him to the sidelines for a couple of days to work on his swing. It looks like those two days off did the trick.

“I feel like I’m a good hitter.” Duda said. “I’m going to continue to work hard and let the chips fall where they may.”

Ike Davis has shown no signs of slowing down and is batting .368 after picking up two more hits and a walk. He erased all concerns about last season’s ankle injury when he took off for second base and slid in safely with a stolen base.

WHERE’S JOHAN: Johan Santana continues to make himself the big story at Mets camp and not for the right reasons. Today he was nowhere to be found on the field practicing with his teammates or in the locker room where his chair stood empty. It turns out he needs extra treatment for his arm, Terry Collins said he’s day-to-day.

We also learned that Santana has been given permission to do his own thing. Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen are going to let the lefthander dictate his own regimen and proceed at his own pace while keeping both of them in the loop regarding his progress. “You tell me when you’re ready and when you’re ready to get in a game,” Collins told Santana.

It now appears that Santana will not make his first start of the spring next week which was supposed to be the plan according to what Collins said two days ago. It looks like everything regarding Santana has been scrapped and that they are back on square one. “We certainly would hope something next week but if it’s not, it’s not,” Collins said.

HEFNER KEEPS ROLLING: My pre-season sleeper, Jeremy Hefner, continues to impress and tossed another three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and walk while striking out a pair. He threw 23 of his 36 pitches for strikes. It’s not even a question anymore that if Johan Santana can’t start the season, Hefner will get his spot in the rotation. “He’s been fantastic,”: said Collins.

CENTER OF ATTRACTION: Matt den Dekker is also getting a lot of buzz in Mets camp, but for all the right reasons. The defensive whiz-kid made another jaw-dropping catch in center field this afternoon against the Astros, turning a likely double into an out. After the game, Collins said he wasn’t sure that many centerfielders could have made that catch. That’s like his fifth web gem in only two weeks. But like Keith Hernandez said during the broadcast, the Mets can’t afford a defense-only player in that outfield. “If he don’t start hitting, he’s going to Triple-A.”

ZACK COMING BACK: Zack Wheeler is expected to pitch in a simulated game on Sunday. The team’s top pitching prospect has not pitched since being scratched on February 27 due to a mild oblique strain. Wheeler threw a bullpen session on Thursday and it looks like he’s coming along.

METS NOTES: Marlon Byrd doubled and scored to lift his average to a team leading .400 and it won’t be long until Collins officially announces that he’s made the team… John Buck, who will start the season as the Mets everyday catcher, had two hits including an RBI double. But more importantly, he is scoring points with the Mets pitchers who all like the way he calls a game… Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Daniel Murphy are both expected back in the lineup after the weekend. Both have been dealing with nagging, but not serious injuries… The Mets will present Bill Parcells with a signed jersey on Sunday to honor him for being selected to the NFL Hall of Fame.

Okay, so while I teach John Delcos the nuances of blogging and social media, he’s giving me lessons on how to do an AP Style post game report. This is my first… How’d I do? Don’t be cruel… 🙂

About Joe D 7945 Articles
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73, '00 and '15, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.