PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mets outfielder Lucas Duda and shortstop Ruben Tejada both returned to the lineup Wednesday, following brief absences for completely different reasons.
Duda had not played since Sunday, when he struck out three times and the Mets determined he was not ready for game action. Coming back from offseason wrist surgery, Duda went 0-for-7 with six strikeouts over his first two Grapefruit League appearances, but hit a groundball single in his first at-bat Wednesday. He finished 1-for-3 with a strikeout.
"The first time up, we saw a more compact swing," manager Terry Collins said. "He's made big strides. He said he's feeling a lot better. So I think we're moving forward, and I think Lucas is starting to get a beat on what he's got to do."
Tejada also missed the last two games with a cramped right quadriceps. He played five innings at shortstop, finishing 1-for-3.
Mets ban d'Arnaud from home-plate collisions
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Ever since Buster Posey of the Giants suffered multiple major injuries two years ago in a play at the plate, home-plate collisions have become a talking point throughout the league. Cardinals manager and former catcher Mike Matheny was the latest to speak out against collisions this week, saying he hopes Major League Baseball outlaws them completely.
Even if that happens, it will not have much of an immediate impact upon Travis d'Arnaud. The Mets have already decided to forbid their young catcher from standing his ground at home plate, much as the Giants did after Posey returned from injury.
"I said, 'Trav, I know you're a tough guy and I know it's baseball,'" manager Terry Collins said. "'But if you want to play for the next 15 years, the last thing we need is to have you reinjure your knee.'"
d'Arnaud tore a ligament in his left knee last summer not from blocking the plate, but from sliding into second base. Still, his new organization is wary of any activity that could result in re-injury.
"We look down the road and this kid's going to be a starter here for a long time," Collins said. "We certainly don't want anything to keep that from happening."
Avoiding contact may not be easy for d'Arnaud, who relishes home-plate collisions and considers them among the most exciting plays in baseball. But the top prospect also understands the danger, and is on board with his team's decision to limit them.
"Whatever the organization wants me to do, I'll do it," d'Arnaud said. "I understand. I haven't really given it much thought, but I do hear people talking about it."
Murphy still at least a week from game action
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Second baseman Daniel Murphy is at least a week away from making his Grapefruit League debut, manager Terry Collins said Wednesday.
Murphy has not swung a bat since straining his right intercostal muscle in the early days of camp. He received a cortisone shot on Feb. 19, and is scheduled to begin swinging soon, though manager Terry Collins cited Murphy's work ethic as an added reason for caution.
"Certainly we're looking forward to getting him out here pretty soon and starting the process of the dry swings, followed by the tee, followed by the soft toss," Collins said. "The issue with Murph is to pull him back a little bit, because when he starts swinging, he can swing 1,000 times before you know it."
Jerseys for d'Arnaud, den Dekker not uniform
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- For those players with unorthodox names, New York's uniforms are anything but uniform.
Fifty-seven of the 58 Mets players in camp have their names written in all capital letters on the backs of their jerseys. The lone exception is Travis d'Arnaud, whose jersey sports a lowercase "D" with the rest of the letters in caps. That's because when clubhouse manager Kevin Kierst consulted the Blue Jays after d'Arnaud was traded, they told him that's how they always wrote it.
Not so for outfielder Matt den Dekker, whose Dutch name is also supposed to include a lowercase "D." His uniform reflected that spelling when he was a freshman at the University of Florida, but den Dekker requested a change because he thought his name looked "weird" with three lower-case letters and six capital letters. His uniforms have been in all caps ever since.
"People spell my name wrong all the time anyway," den Dekker said, laughing. "It's not hard to spell."
• Right-hander Shaun Marcum has temporarily stepped out of the Mets' Grapefruit League rotation, but is not injured. Collins said Marcum wants to concentrate on a long-toss program designed to strengthen his shoulder, which gave him trouble last spring. He will return to game action in early to mid-March.
• Former Mets first baseman Val Pascucci announced Wednesday that he has signed with the Broncos de Reynosa of the Triple-A Mexican League.
• Bizarre connection of the day: The New York police officer on trial for allegedly plotting to kidnap, murder and eat 100 women was high school baseball teammates with Mets outfielder Mike Baxter. Baxter said he played "two or three years" at Archbishop Molloy in Queens with Gilberto Valle, whom New York tabloids have dubbed "the cannibal cop." He has not talked to Valle in the 10 years since he graduated from Molloy. "There will be no comment about the 'cannibal cop,'" Baxter said.