After starting his Spring 0-for-7 with six strikeouts over his first two games, Duda didn't play the next two games so he could work on his swing and timing. Since returning on Wednesday, Duda is 3-for-6 with a double, home run and no strikeouts.
"There's no difference," Duda said, according to Marc Carig of Newsday. "It's just seeing more live pitching, that's it."
I saw the game on TV yesterday, but it was clear Duda's pitch preparation was different than it had been in his earlier at-bats of the Spring. It's almost as if he reverted back to waggling the bat somewhat versus resting the bat on his shoulder before the pitch. In any event, something has been working better for him recently, and that's a very good sign considering how much the Mets are depending on his bat this season. What was most impressive about Duda yesterday was his opposite-field double; when he was successful in 2011, he used the entire field, and wasn't just a dead pull hitter.
With all of that said, it's hard to put much stock in 13 at-bats spread over late February and the early part of March. It's so early, and there is no mistaking the Mets are working with Duda (among others) on a variety of things. Sometimes the results of that work aren't immediately seen in these games. In the case of Duda, I want to see some signs he's becoming a consistent and adaptive offensive force now, but I also want to see a confident hitter, a hitter who understands the strike zone, and understands how to both read pitches and consistently use the entire field. If he can execute that now and carry the approach out of camp, his offense will be less of a worry this season.