First baseman Lucas Duda was scratched from the Mets’ lineup Saturday and had an MRI on his back, as ESPN’s Mark Simon notes. The nature and severity of Duda’s issue is unclear, although he’s batted just .192/.300/.404 in May. “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 games in D.C. (next week),” says manager Terry Collins. “We have to look at the big picture. We can’t aggravate this thing to where it becomes a major issue. We hope that it won’t.” Here’s more on NL injuries.
- The Dodgers are keeping an eye on Frankie Montas, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register writes. Montas, who’s recovering after having surgery on his rib in February, pitched two scoreless innings in extended spring training on Thursday and threw 100 MPH with what manager Dave Roberts describes as good command. Montas is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Tulsa this weekend. As Plunkett notes, Montas isn’t eligible to come off the 60-day DL until June 3. Montas, one of the keys to the Dodgers’ end of the Todd Frazier deal last winter, could turn out to be a significant asset for the Dodgers, given his velocity (his average fastball last year in a brief trial with the White Sox was 96.7 MPH) and the instability of the Dodgers’ bullpen beyond Kenley Jansen.
- Brewers manager Craig Counsell says lefty Will Smith is ready to begin a rehab assignment and could return to the team in the first week of June, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (Twitter links). Smith tore his lateral collateral ligament late in Spring Training and opted to rehab it rather than having surgery. He began throwing off a mound last week. A quick return would be a boon for both Smith and the Brewers — he had figured to get at least some opportunities at closer this year, and if he does pile up saves or holds, he’ll likely get a nifty raise on his $1.475MM 2016 salary through the arbitration process next winter. Perhaps we would be getting ahead of ourselves in imagining he might close, however — Jeremy Jeffress has done well in the closer’s role, and there’s no urgent reason for the Brewers to remove him. The team surely would, however, enjoy the return of a reliever in Smith who posted a 2.70 ERA, 12.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in a terrific 2015 season. He and Jeffress could also be good trade chips for the Brewers this summer.