Duda scratched with stiff back

Injury not thought to be serious, first baseman could be back in lineup Wednesday

Duda scratched with stiff back

NEW YORK -- Threatening afternoon sprinkles turned Tuesday's game between the Mets and Rockies from guarantee into mere possibility. But one thing was certain: Lucas Duda was not in the Mets' starting lineup.

Duda has been dealing with a stiff back, which he insists is a minor issue that shouldn't sideline him for long or prohibit him from pinch-hitting, if necessary.

Mets manager Terry Collins planned to rest Duda on Wednesday, when Colorado is scheduled to pitch a lefty for the second consecutive day. Duda felt he would benefit from treatment upon arriving at Citi Field, prompting the early scratch.

"At this time of year .. I'll take a day off over a month off," Collins said "I run him back out there and something happens, next thing you know he's missing a week, he's missing two weeks."

Fresh off a scorching 10-day stretch that started towards the end of July, Duda continued turning his season around with a productive start to August. In nine games this month, the Mets' home run and RBI leader is hitting .324 and benefitting from the protection of powerful lineup pieces suddenly surrounding him.

To fill Duda's normal role at first base, Collins slotted Daniel Murphy to make his second start there this season in the Mets' 4-0 win over the Rockies. That opened up second base for Wilmer Flores and third for Juan Uribe, giving Collins two extra right-handed hitters in his lineup against Rockies left-hander Chris Rusin.

Duda hasn't exactly been a slouch against southpaws this season, posting a career-high .304/.355/.539 slash line against them. He expects to test those numbers Wednesday against Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa.

"I don't think it's too serious," said Duda, New York's leader in home runs and RBIs. "I think it's just a long-season type of deal.

"I'll just take today and be ready for tomorrow."

Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.