Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s okay, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
* * *
Lucas Duda hasn't been having his typical season, and a back injury could be at fault. The Mets first baseman has a stress fracture in his lower back, and it's expected to cost him at least four-to-six weeks, but since it's a back injury with the word "fracture" in it, it could certainly be much more than that. The Mets don't have a replacement for Duda in the short term -- not a real one, anyway, as they're considering a mix that includes middle infielder Wilmer Flores and 27-year-old career minor-leaguer Ty Kelly at the moment. They absolutely do not have a long-term solution, either, with the team admitting they would have to look outside the organization for one.
They'll have a hard time finding a first baseman on the trade market, too, as there are few available as free agents this winter that will likely be available at this early juncture. Adam Lind and Mike Napoli are both playing on contenders, as are Mark Trumbo and Justin Smoak. If the Yankees were to move Mark Teixeira, it wouldn't be anytime soon, not when they're near .500 with so much season left. Bumping Michael Conforto to first might be the team's best move in Duda's absence since they have Juan Lagares and Alejandro De Aza to insert into the outfield as necessary. Shifting David Wright across the diamond is also an option, but he's not an every day player given his own back troubles, and that would also result in more Flores than the Mets should be aiming for.
New York is only half a game back of the Nationals and currently possess the top wild card spot in the NL, but Duda has been one of their top hitters the past two seasons and the lineup will miss even the hampered version of him that had been playing in 2016 to this point. With few options internally or externally, the Mets are just going to have to hope Duda can return closer to that four-week mark, and as the slugging first baseman they thought they were entering the season with, too.
- A bat flip with a point that also featured the #RunningManChallenge? Baseball is very versatile.
- Intentional walks are the worst. They're also a source of baseball weirdness, though, and we're going to lose that if intentional passes become automatic.
- The Padres' handling of the San Diego Gay Men's Chorus was a screw-up, but not a homophobic conspiracy, writes Cyd Zeigler of Outsports. The DJ responsible for playing the wrong track explained that he played Friday's pre-recorded anthem track instead of Saturday's, and that he ruined "a great moment for a lot of people."
- Ryan Vogelsong was hit right under the eye by a Jordan Lyles' pitch on Monday afternoon, but his wife Nicole tweeted out that he's "stable & will be ok."
- Jake Peavy is staying in the Giants' rotation, but mostly because they haven't found someone to replace him yet.
- We're used to seeing versatility out of Ben Zobrist, so a late-career adjustment to keep himself productive shouldn't be a surprise.
- The Braves made a nifty move with the Orioles to assist in their rebuild, absorbing Brian Matusz's salary in order to get their fifth pick in this June's first 80 selections.
- Pete Mackanin benched Odubel Herrera during Monday's game for a lack of hustle, and The Good Phight wonders if that was the right move.
- Ichiro Suzuki went 4-for-4 on Monday, and he's now just one hit shy of tying Sam Crawford for the 31st-most in history, as well as only 40 shy of 3,000 for his career.