News and notes from the Mets’ and Yankees’ Spring Training camps in Florida.
Duda’s a hit in return to lineup
Lucas Duda went 1-for-2 with a two-run double in Friday’s 11-3 victory over the Astros before being removed in the fifth inning. The 30-year-old first baseman missed the majority of last season with back issues and had cortisone shots in both hips last week, but showed no ill effects in Friday’s tilt.
“Health-wise I’m right where I need to be and that is the most important thing,” Duda told reporters afterwards. “I haven’t seen live pitching in quite some time, but it will take a little bit to get back and I’m looking forward to it.”
Terry Collins plans to give Duda some starts at DH this month in order to see more live pitching, but wants his star slugger to scale back at practice.
“The one thing he has cut back on…the practice reps,” Collins told reporters. “If we keep him out there and keep him solid and keep him strong, that potential off the bat is off the charts.”
Gsellman has inside track to fifth starter spot
According to Matt Ehalt of the Bergen Record, Robert Gsellman is expected to be the fifth man in the Mets’ rotation when the regular season begins, while Zack Wheeler is expected to remain in extended Spring Training this April.
Gsellman pitched 44.2 innings in 2016 and went 4-2 with a 2.42 ERA, emerging as one of Mets’ more promising prospects at any position. Gsellman’s first outing of the spring came on Thursday and he blanked the Marlins for two innings while surrendering a hit and a walk.
Wheeler is making strides while attempting to return from Tommy John surgery, which has kept him from pitching since 2014. He will reportedly be kept on a strict innings limit if and when he makes the major league roster.
Aaron Judge had two hits on Friday to boost his average through Spring Training to .429 (6-for-14). Joe Girardi credits a “minor adjustment” to Judge’s quick start to the exhibition season. Most importantly, Judge has struck out only twice in those 14 at-bats. Striking out was a serious problem for Judge last season, as he fanned in half of his first 84 at-bats in the majors.
Yankees’ farm system flourishing
Per MLB.com, the Yankees have the second-best farm system in baseball, trailing only the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees acquired their number one (Gleyber Torres), two (Clint Frazier) and seven (Justus Sheffield) prospects at the July trade deadline. They also appear to have drafted very well in the first round of late, taking Blake Rutherford (third overall prospect), Aaron Judge (fourth), and James Kaprielian (sixth). Many of these names are expected to make an impact this season as the Yankees’ youth movement continues.