James Loney traded to Mets, likely to be activated after weekend

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets have acted swiftly to offset the loss of first baseman Lucas Duda, acquiring veteran James Loney in a trade with the San Diego Padres, the team announced Saturday. The Padres will receive cash considerations.

The Rays released Loney on April 3 and are still responsible for his salary, meaning the Mets will be on the hook for only a prorated portion of the major league minimum for this season.

Loney, 32, had been playing with Triple-A El Paso in the Padres organization. He was hitting .342 with two homers and 28 RBIs in 158 at-bats with the Pacific Coast League club.

Duda landed on the disabled list Monday with a stress fracture in his lower back and could miss two months.

Loney is not expected to be activated until after the weekend.

"Loney was sort of an immediate, obvious possibility in terms of ease of acquisition and a variety of things," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "We took a look at what might be available to us out there. We had somebody go in and look at James last week a couple of days -- we had some reports from earlier in the month -- and felt this was the right move for us.

"Hopefully, Lucas is back soon. But, in the meantime, we felt we needed probably another left-handed bat. And, interestingly enough, James doesn't have a lot of power, or hasn't demonstrated that. But we've got that elsewhere in the lineup. Somebody that hits from the left side, a contact hitter who doesn't strike out a lot, could be a nice fit for us. We just have to see what happens."

Said manager Terry Collins: "He'll add a nice dimension to us. He's a very good first baseman. He's a good offensive player. He's not necessarily a big power guy. I've known him since he was 17. He's a tremendous guy in the clubhouse."

With Duda sidelined, Eric Campbell has started four straight games at first base. However, he is hitting only .182 with one homer and five RBIs in 55 at-bats this season.

Infielder Wilmer Flores is expected to return from the disabled list Sunday. A right-handed hitter, Flores could platoon with Loney, who bats left-handed, at first base.

Loney tipped off his move to the Mets with a post on his Twitter account earlier in the day.

Loney has played 10 major league seasons. He hit .280 with four homers and 32 RBIs in 361 at-bats with the Rays.

"He brings great defense at first base," said Mets catcher Rene Rivera, who played with Loney in Tampa Bay. "It's good for us. We're missing Duda here. James Loney, I think, he can step up and help us."