Duda fractured the joint while moving furniture last month at his Southern California apartment, according to a team release. The Mets expect Duda to be ready for the start of Spring Training.
Duda, 26, hit .239 with 15 home runs and 57 RBIs in 121 games this season, playing a mix of both corner-outfield positions and first base. Counted on in Spring Training to replace Carlos Beltran as the team's everyday right fielder, Duda slumped so badly around midsummer that the Mets demoted him to Triple-A Buffalo.
Now, his future is murky. Duda could win a starting outfield job outright in Spring Training, he could settle into a left-field platoon with Jason Bay, or he could take over at first base if the Mets decide to trade Ike Davis.
Despite the possibilities, the Mets are still unsure if Duda can be an everyday player anywhere given his defensive limitations and his .662 OPS this season against left-handed pitchers. But they remain intrigued by his 10 home runs and .462 slugging percentage in the second half of 2011, vindicating the batting practice fireworks he generates with regularity.
Helping Duda's cause is the fact that heading into the Hot Stove season, the Mets do not have a single starting outfielder etched in stone, and are unlikely to acquire a high-profile solution via free agency or trade. Duda, Bay, Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin could all play significant roles in 2013, though none of them has done enough to command a guaranteed starting job.