As first reported by ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin, Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is scheduled to make his 2015 Grapefruit League debut Sunday in an afternoon exhibition game against the Rays.
Duda suffered an oblique strain two weeks ago, but he has been hitting in Mets camp since Monday.
The 29-year-old first baseman still has plenty of time to get his timing right before the start of the regular season. He posted an impressive .830 OPS with 30 home runs and 92 RBI in 153 games last year.
The Mets figure to bat Duda cleanup throughout 2015. He hit there in 78 of his 153 games played last season.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets and free agent reliever Brad Brach have agreed on a one-year deal worth $850,000. The contract includes a player option for the 2021 season with a base salary of $1.25 million and additional performance incentives.
Brach, 33, signed as a free agent with the Cubs this past February. After posting an ugly 6.13 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, the Cubs released him in early August. The Mets picked him up shortly thereafter. Brach’s performance improved, limiting opposing hitters to six runs on 15 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings through the end of the season.
While Brach will add some much-needed depth to the Mets’ bullpen, his walk rate has been going in the wrong direction for the last three seasons. It went from eight percent in 2016 to 9.5, 9.7, and 12.8 percent from 2017-19. Needless to say the Mets are hoping that trend starts heading in the other direction next season.