Rays' Duda finds himself in new uniform at Yankee Stadium
NEW YORK (AP) Lucas Duda is no stranger to Yankee Stadium, having played 10 games at the ballpark with the New York Mets in the annual Subway Series. But Friday, he found himself wearing a different uniform after being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays.
''It's a little different, but the atmosphere is second to none here and I'm excited to be to be back on the field and play some baseball,'' Duda said in the dugout before the game.
Duda batted cleanup and played first base against the Yankees. On Thursday, the Mets sent him to Tampa Bay for a minor league pitcher.
Duda said it's ''kind of bittersweet'' to leave the Mets - the only team he has played with since his rookie season in 2011 - but he's very excited to find himself back in a playoff race with the Rays.
Duda arrived at Yankee Stadium after what he described as a ''whirlwind'' 24 hours since being traded on Thursday. He caught a redeye flight from the West Coast where the struggling Mets were playing.
''I'm ready for a new chapter to begin, and I'm ready to be in the hunt,'' Duda said. ''It seems like we have a good shot to maybe take the division and go further.
''It's a shot in the arm playing for a contender which is obviously where you want to be at this time of year,'' he said.
Duda joins the Rays, who lost Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series between the AL East rivals.
The Rays have been busy in the days leading up to Monday's nonwaiver trade deadline.
On Friday, they got reliever Steve Cishek from Seattle for Erasmo Ramirez in a swap of right-handers. On Thursday, Tampa Bay acquired lefty reliever Dan Jennings from the Chicago White Sox.
Recently, the Rays got right-hander Sergio Romo from the Dodgers. Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and infielder Trevor Plouffe also arrived in June.