10 alternatives to Lucas Duda at first base for Mets

Michael Conforto has worked out at first base, but replacing Lucas Duda there might be a tough ask. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

WASHINGTON -- Lucas Duda has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back and could miss six weeks or more. Here are options to fill in at first base with the New York Mets during his absence:

1. Eric Campbell. Campbell gets the start on Monday night against the Washington Nationals, but this is clearly just a stopgap measure.

2. Wilmer Flores. Flores, currently on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, is due to begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday with Double-A Binghamton. He is eligible to be activated as soon as Friday. Look for Flores this weekend to supplant Campbell as the primary first baseman ... for the short term.

3. Michael Conforto. Manager Terry Collins said Conforto is due to begin taking groundballs at first base, although that could not occur pregame Monday because of rain and the tarp being on the field at Nationals Park. Conforto said he worked out at first base while in college at Oregon State, but he never has appeared in a game there. Clearly he'll need to get some practice time in before this is a consideration in a game, but Collins said it would achieve the objective of getting both Conforto and Juan Lagares in the lineup too, which is attractive.

4. David Wright. Collins openly acknowledged speaking to Wright on Sunday about the possibility of moving across the diamond, although nothing is planned for now. That seems like a tough move in-season, since Wright's balky back doesn't make him equipped to do the extra work it would require to get acclimated to a new position. Then again, it mostly would alleviate the need for Wright to make throws across the field, which has been an issue.

5. Neil Walker. The Mets debated calling up second base prospect Dilson Herrera over utility player Ty Kelly, which would have allowed them to move Walker to first base. That was not the direction they chose to go since it would require Walker learning a new position.

6. Dominic Smith. Smith might be the heir apparent to Duda, but not just yet. He's not ready for the major league level, according to Collins. Smith, the Mets' first-round pick in 2013, is still 20 years old and has less than two months of experience at the Double-A level.

7. Alejandro De Aza. Buried as the fifth outfielder, De Aza requested to start taking groundballs at first base even before Duda went on the DL. He had no real experience there, though, and Collins did not sound keen on having him appear in a game there anytime soon.

8. Kelly Johnson. Why not re-acquire Johnson from the Atlanta Braves? After all, it might be only May, but Atlanta already is buried in the NL East.

9. Ty Kelly. Kelly is a utility player and has some experience at first base. He's not a long-term answer there, but don't discount him starting a game there this series over Campbell.

10. Kevin Plawecki. Collins mentioned Plawecki in passing as an option, but the Mets already are thin at catcher with Travis d'Arnaud on the DL. Plawecki did regularly get exposed to first base in recent years in the minors.

Still, Collins cautioned: "We're not in a position right now to just test guys. We're supposed to win. I know everybody thinks first base is a place you can throw anybody over. That's not true. They handle the ball, besides the catcher, more than anybody."