The Mets announced this morning that they have recalled Lucas Duda from Triple-A Las Vegas. In turn, Mike Baxter has been optioned back down to the minors.
Duda batted .235/.353/.438 with 11 home runs and 23 RBI through 68 games this season prior to landing on the disabled list with an oblique strain in late June. After completing a rehab assignment, the 27-year-old was optioned to Triple-A, where he hit .306 (19-for-62) with zero homers, three doubles and a 15/14 K/BB ratio over 18 games.
As Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com notes, because Duda was in the minors for less than 20 days after being optioned, the Mets will not lose his option status for this year. This means he will have one option left for 2014.
Duda primarily played first base while in Triple-A, but it’s unclear what role he’ll have now that he’s back with the big club. Ike Davis owns a .272/.435/.439 batting line in 41 games since returning from his demotion, though he’s currently in a 5-for-29 funk. While Eric Young, Jr. has struggled at the plate over the past month or so, the Mets probably don’t want to see Duda lumbering around in left field again.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉