After starting 0-for-7 with six strikeouts over his first two Spring Training games, Terry Collins kept Duda out of the next two games so he can work on his swing and timing.
In yesterday's 12-4 loss to the Cardinals, Duda returned and went 1-for-3 with a strikeouts and a run scored.
"[Duda has] made big strides," Collins said, according to Carig. "He said he's felt a lot better. He'll stay back [tonight] and do extra work again, so I think we're moving forward. I think Lucas is starting to get a beat on what he's got to do."
While I was in Port St. Lucie, I got a chance to see some of Duda's cage sessions up close, and I came away encouraged. To me, he seems more balanced, and I think that will ultimately help him cut down on the high strike out total that plagued him in 2012. When he first came up, Duda's natural tendancy was to hit the ball towards left center, and I wonder if that's something he's trying to get back to with these adjustments. Duda is so strong that he'll naturally pull plenty of pitches, but I think consistently hitting the ball with power to the opposite field would turn him into the lethal power hitter the Mets are hoping he can be.
So far, the game results haven't been good, but I like the approach the Mets have taken with him. It's so early that I don't put much stock into his first ten at bats of Spring Training. The key is for Duda to get comfortable, and the best way to do that is get as many reps as possible.