One of the more intriguing position battles in the New York Mets’ spring camp is Ike Davis battling it out against Lucas Duda for the starter’s spot. For weeks, fans and media have speculated over what each player needs to do to secure a role with the big team but until Friday, when Grapefruit League games began for the Mets, it was all talk.
Now we have some results, but still neither player has a clear-cut advantage.
Davis went 1-3 with a strikeout and a two-run HR in his third and final at-bat. Duda also went 1-3 with a double and was robbed of a hit his first time up.
This was, after all, just the first spring game. Barring injury, Davis’ or Duda’s fate wasn’t going to be decided today. What’s encouraging, though, is how both players seem up to the challenge of making first base their own (even if the “winner” is likely to be platooned with right-handed Josh Satin when the season starts).
Davis says a concealed oblique injury robbed him of his power and mechanics at the plate; now that he’s healthy, Davis is likely expecting a return to his 2011 form, where he batted .302 before an ankle injury derailed his season. Duda trained hard over the winter and came into camp ten pounds lighter, hoping to improve his mobility and athleticism. He’s shown the Mets flashes of being a solid MLB player, but has yet to put together a consistent year.
These guys both have the potential to make a difference for the Mets and we’ve already seen exactly what Davis is capable of (32 HRs, 90 RBIs in 2012). This battle could come down to the final days of spring and if both Davis and Duda continue to hit, the Mets are going to be forced into yet another tough decision.
A headache for the team, sure, but it’s going to be fun to watch.