Originally posted on Full Spectrum Baseball  |  Last updated 7/30/12

The excitement surrounding Matt Harvey’s stellar debut overshadowed another Mets debut last night. This one albeit it a dubious one. Kind of representative of the entire Mets season, huh?

I’m talking about Lucas Duda and his free fall from the starting line up of the big club in Queens. The same night Matt Harvey made his star making turn with the Mets, Duda made his debut as a Buffalo Bison. Lucas Duda started for Triple-A Buffalo Thursday night playing right field.

Mets manager Terry Collins insisted this was not a deviation from his initial plan. Nonetheless, Duda will play left field and first base as well. Collins told Buffalo manager Wally Backman that he didn’t really care where Duda played, as long as he resumed hitting.

As of right now… he’s barely hitting my weight and that’s not a gross exaggeration.

“It’s about Lucas Duda finding that stroke,” Collins said before Thursday’s game against Arizona. The organization felt Duda, who went 0-for-4 while leaving six men on base in his first game as a Bison, too often carried his defensive lapses with him to the plate. Translation? He’s a head case.

Duda was batting just .190 (19 for 100) with four extra-base hits in his past 29 games. He was New York’s starting right fielder entering the season. At the point of his demotion, he was batting .241 with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs this year.

Duda’s defense in right has been subpar as well, contributing to the decision to send him down. Collins said the organization plans to move Duda back to his normal positions, first base and left field, during his stint in the minors.

The Mets really know how to collect them. Am I right?

To compensate for his fielding issues, Collins felt that Duda swung for the fences. When did that approach work for anyone? Where was anyone to notices this 20 some games ago. Over his last 20 games, Duda hit .157 with a .495 on base plus slugging percentage. Duda needs that trend to change in the minors.

The team is out of time.

With that in mind, Collins told Backman he didn’t mind Duda playing first base every now (especially if it helps to build his ego). Collins wants Duda to get his mind off his fielding every day.

“He’s got to be comfortable,” Collins said. “So when he gets in that batter’s box, that becomes the primary focus. So he can’t be worried about making a mistake defensively.”

The Mets will platoon a combination of Scott Hairston, Jordany Valdespin and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in right depending on who is swinging the bat well.

“We gotta go with the hot hand right now,” Collins said.

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