By: Stache Staff

Duda blasts grand slam in 7-7 tie with Tigers

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Mets play 10 innings with Tigers

In time, left-handed masher Lucas Duda could become a true Met hero. Not only did he hit a grand slam in yesterday’s spring training meet with Detroit to give the Mets a 7-3 lead, but he did so after missing only five days with a stiff lower back. Five days! Ordinary Mets would miss an entire month with that sort of ailment, am I right?

It would be far too much to ask the Mets to hold onto that 7-3 lead. Thanks to Josh Stinson surrendering 3 runs on 4 hits in the 5th, the Tigers came back to play to a 7-7 draw. However, the important thing is that Robert Carson, Daniel Herrera and Josh Edgin each pitched a scoreless inning, and all of those guys are candidates to replace the injured Tim Byrdak as the lefty specialist in the Mets Opening Day pen.

Jon Niese started the game versus Detroit and in keeping with what was a common theme for him last season, he recorded 4 strikeouts and no walks, but still gave up 5 hits and 3 runs in 3 innings. At the plate, Mike Nickeas was 2 for 3 with a pair of doubles and 2 RBI and Jordany Valdespin went 2 for 4 with a triple. The possible Mets middle infielder of the future is now 5 for 14 in spring training.

Alderson talks about bullpen

The Mets GM spoke to reporters regarding the Byrdak injury situation and said he expects the Hogan-impersonator to take around 6 weeks to recover from surgery to repair his torn miniscus. That would have Byrdak back in the bullpen by the end of April, which is probably a bit optimistic.

As far as replacements lefties are concerned, Alderson confirmed that Carson, Herrera and Edgin are all possibilities, as well as Garrett Olson. He also said that the club would decide on whether or not to sign veteran lefty C.J. Nitkowski in “the next few days.”

Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger does a good job breaking down the possible Byrdak replacements. To me the whole situation is kind of a mess. Carson and Edgin have shown potential in the minors, but they haven’t come close to the majors before this and neither has pitched above the AA level. Meanwhile, Olson pitched just 4 innings for Pittsburgh last season and in 2010 had a 1.51 WHIP in 37 innings for Seattle. Herrera has been in the majors since 2008, but has only one season with above 23 innings in the bigs. Chuck James, who was not mentioned by Alderson yesterday, was a starter for Atlanta in 2006 and 2007 before falling out of the majors in 2008 and not reappearing until he allowed 7 runs in 10 innings for Minnesota last season. Ugh.

I’d give the role to Herrera if I had to decide today, just because he pitched decently for the Mets late last season. Of course, I’m not opposed to the front office bringing in Nitkowski or any other free agents.

Update: The Mets are reporting that they’ve signed lefty John Mincone on a minor league deal. Based on his limited major league history, he seems like another long shot. It’s better than nothing.

 Bullpen catcher charged with DUI

Everyone knows that beer and bowling go perfect together, but throwing driving into the equation is just a bad and potentially tragic idea. On Sunday night Mets bullpen catcher Eric Langill flipped his car on his way home from a team bowling outing. According to police reports, he was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. The only good news is that Langill was not injured badly and no one was in the car with him.

Today vs. Cardinals

The Mets take on St. Louis this afternoon at 1:10 PM at Digital Domain Park. The game can be seen on SNY, so if Duda hits another home run, there will be video evidence. Here are your lineups and pitching probables.

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