New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda pulls jun a pop-fly off the bat of Colorado Rockies' Nolan Arenado to end the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 15, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski
May 21, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) Lucas Duda was out of the lineup again Saturday with a bad back, and New York Mets manager Terry Collins certainly sounded worried about his power-hitting first baseman.

Collins said Duda was examined by a doctor and had an MRI. He will have another test this weekend and sit out Sunday as well.

Asked whether Duda could be sidelined longer than that, Collins said it was too early to tell. Pressed for specifics, he acknowledged Duda could have a disk problem.

''It's pretty concerning. He's tried to go out the last couple games and played and it's still bothering him,'' Collins said. ''We had him examined by a doctor today and it was recommended he take a couple of days so, you know, that could lead to something else. So we'll just have to wait and see.''

In other news, struggling pitcher Matt Harvey threw on the main mound at Citi Field against hitters to simulate game conditions. Collins said Harvey will make his next start on regular rest Tuesday at Washington.

Duda hit 57 homers over the past two seasons and normally provides protection for cleanup man Yoenis Cespedes in the middle of the Mets' slumping batting order.

Duda is batting .231 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs. Usually a patient hitter with a good eye, he's walked only 11 times this season, leaving him with a .297 on-base percentage that is 46 points below his career mark.

''Having him out of the lineup is a huge loss for us, especially against right-handed pitching, which we're going to see two games here and two more in D.C. So it's tough for us,'' Collins said. ''But again, we've got to look at the big picture and that is we can't aggravate this thing to where it may come up to be a major issue. Not that it won't, but we just hope that it won't and that's why we've got to get him out of there today and tomorrow.''

After sitting out Tuesday with a stiff back and resting Wednesday against a left-handed pitcher, Duda played the next two games. He was in the original lineup Saturday against Milwaukee but was replaced at first base by Eric Campbell about 3 1/2 hours before the first pitch of New York's 5-4 comeback victory.

''When you take a big bat like Lucas' out of the lineup, that's a big hole because that's some power,'' Collins said. ''Hey, these are opportunities, somebody's got to step up and do the job. ... We've just got to pick up some slack for each other.''

During batting practice, outfielder Alejandro De Aza worked with coach Tim Teufel at first base. Teufel said they started doing that earlier in the week in case of emergency.

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