WSH@NYM: Duda hits his second homer of the game

NEW YORK -- Still feeling some of the lower back stiffness that forced him out of a doubleheader Tuesday in Denver, outfielder Lucas Duda took the field Friday afternoon trying to convince manager Terry Collins that he felt well enough to play.

"We are going to put him through the usual paces today -- have him hit, have him do all his throwing, have him warm up," Collins said before the Mets took the field for batting practice. "And if the stiffness doesn't subside, he'll be taken out."

The stiffness must have subsided, because Duda found himself in the starting lineup hours later against Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals, batting sixth and playing left field.

Duda showed no signs of the back stiffness, belting a pair of solo homers to help the Mets beat the Nationals, 7-1.

Duda is quietly enjoying a strong April for the Mets, with a .308 batting average, five home runs and a 1.235 OPS. He also has more walks (12) than strikeouts (11). Duda left the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader in the fifth inning due to back stiffness, which he said initially started bothering him in his first at-bat.

d'Arnaud won't need surgery on broken bone in foot

WSH@NYM: d'Arnaud's RBI single puts the Mets up two

NEW YORK -- Mets top prospect Travis d'Arnaud will not require surgery to repair a fractured bone in his left foot, the catcher learned during a reexamination Friday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

The sixth-ranked player on MLB.com's 2013 Prospect Watch, d'Arnaud sustained a non-displaced fracture of the first metatarsal in his left foot when a foul tip struck him Wednesday during a game with Triple-A Las Vegas. Manager Terry Collins estimated that d'Arnaud will require up to eight weeks to heal.

"He's in a boot," Collins said. "They want him to do as little as possible for a while -- let that mending start."

The centerpiece of the trade that sent knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays in December, d'Arnaud was batting .250 with one home run and a .429 on-base percentage in his first 49 plate appearances for Las Vegas.

Collins excited about Marcum's rehab outing

WSH@NYM: Marcum tosses two frames in spring debut

NEW YORK -- Manager Terry Collins offered rave reviews of Shaun Marcum's extended spring training game Thursday in Florida, in which the right-hander threw 41 pitches over four perfect innings.

"He pitched very well," Collins said. "He felt great. We're very excited."

Collins said that Marcum will attempt to throw 80 pitches next time out, possibly in an official Minor League rehab game. That could put him in line to make his season debut April 27 against the Phillies, when the Mets next need a fifth starter -- though the team has been careful not to publicly reveal any expectations for the right-hander's return.

Marcum, who signed a one-year deal in January worth $4 million plus incentives, has been on the disabled list since Opening Day with nerve inflammation in his neck. He went 7-4 with a 3.70 ERA in 21 starts for the Brewers last season, missing a month with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. His seven-year big league career has been checkered with elbow and shoulder troubles.

In Marcum's absence early this season, left-hander Aaron Laffey has been serving as a member of the rotation. But with Monday's off-day allowing the Mets to use a four-man rotation over the next week, Laffey will work out of the bullpen for the time being.