Duda could take swings early this week

Duda could take swings early this week

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mets first baseman Lucas Duda's strained left intercostal muscle is showing improvement, lining him up to potentially swing a bat early this week. Once that happens, Duda will progress from swinging off a tee to soft toss drills, hitting in a cage and, finally, taking full batting practice.

Though Duda has spent time in the cage each day since suffering the injury in mid-February, he has been tracking pitches without swinging -- a way to keep his timing relatively sharp.

"I told him to be patient," manager Terry Collins said on Sunday afternoon. "Hopefully by this particular time next week, maybe he's taking BP."

Duda will be among several prominent Mets sitting out the team's Grapefruit League opener against the Braves on Wednesday. Collins plans to hold back third baseman David Wright, second baseman Daniel Murphy, and outfielders Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer until the club's spring home opener on Friday. Veterans customarily skip long spring road trips, and Wednesday's opener in Lake Buena Vista is one of the longest on the schedule.

Anthony DiComo is the Mets beat reporter for MLB.com. He has been covering the team since 2010.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.