LOS ANGELES -- Terry Collins said he does not intend to use Lucas Duda in left field, even though Duda might feel more comfortable there than right field.
Although Duda's minor league outfield experience came more so in left field (183 games, versus 25 games in right field), Collins said it would not serve a converted first baseman well to have to worry about left field when he has not yet acclimated to right field.
New York Mets
It further makes little sense to use Duda in left field, Collins added, because Jason Bay's absence likely will not be for a prolonged period.
"I've seen him in left field," Collins said. "I saw him when he was in Double-A in left field. And he was OK out there. He was probably more comfortable out there because that's where he played the days he didn't DH or the days he didn't play first. But you know what? We know Jason is coming back. It's a matter of time. Now, all of a sudden, when you're flipping this guy who was not that comfortable in one position between two, I don't think it's a good idea."
Collins noted Thursday night that had Duda taken a better route on Dee Gordon's leadoff extra-base hit, Chris Young might have escaped the fourth inning without allowing a run.
Still, Collins added about Duda's difficulty in the opener at Dodger Stadium: "He does nothing but work his butt off in right field. He's a first baseman who is playing right field. The more he's out there, you hope the more comfortable he gets and the better jumps he gets. You're always going to have a blip out there. That's a tough thing to ask. And this park is one of those [difficult] parks, because of the high sky -- there's never a cloud in the sky around here in the summertime. And then you've got that extra deck on the stadium, where the ball never gets above the stadium. It's tough to pick up [the baseball] at times. And when you're asking a guy who is really not an outfielder to do that stuff, even though he works at it, we only play four games here. ...
"The one thing on his mind is he doesn't want to hurt us. He doesn't want to contribute to costing us a game because he's out of position a little bit. And I've told him he's got to relax and do the best he can, to stay aggressive and go after some balls. Once in a while the ball is going to get by you. We've seen balls get by the best of the best. But don't be hesitant."