4/10/2014 7:30 P.M. ET
Surging Lagares in lineup after banging shoulder
By Joe Morgan / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Mets center fielder Juan Lagares is "fine" after banging his right shoulder against the outfield wall while making a spectacular leaping catch on Wednesday. The great catch robbed Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman of an extra-base hit.
"I didn't ask him, but he wasn't in the training room either, so he must be fine," manager Terry Collins said.
Despite getting roughed up, Lagares remained in the game and nearly helped the Mets complete a ninth-inning rally. With two outs and trailing by three, Lagares drove in two with a single to center against Braves closer Craig Kimbrel.
The clutch hit gave Lagares a team-leading five RBIs and raised his batting average to .321 (9-for-28) through eight games. He has hit safely in seven of eight contests. His early success offers the promise of improvement from his .242 (95-for-392) clip in 2013.
"He's getting better," Collins said of Lagares. "There's a gradual progression. Nobody knows how good he's going to be, but we know how good he is defensively and he's grown offensively."
But no matter how much his offensive numbers progress, New York knows it has something special with Lagares patrolling center field. Mets pitcher Dillon Gee, who will start against the Angels on Friday, is especially thankful for Lagares.
"It's nice when you're pitching, and especially for a guy like me," Gee said. "I pitch to contact a lot. I'm trying to get them to put the ball in play, and it makes it easier for me to do that knowing that I have a guy like that in the outfield. He's definitely a Gold Glove-type outfielder, and I'm glad that people are finally starting to see that."
Davis gets another start at first base in finale
ATLANTA -- Ike Davis got the start over Lucas Duda at first base in the Mets' series finale against the Braves on Thursday night. Duda, who homered twice in New York's 4-3 win against Cincinnati on April 4, is batting .105 (2-for-19) otherwise.
Mets manager Terry Collins named Duda his starting first baseman following the Mets' season-opening series against the Nationals at Citi Field. New York started a different first baseman -- Duda, Davis and Josh Satin -- in the first three games of the season for the first time in franchise history.
"I told Ike the other day he was going to play [Thursday]," Collins said Thursday. "As a matter of fact, he came in to make sure he was in the lineup. I said, 'Hey, I told you you're going to play. You're going to play.'"
Collins wants to give Satin a start when the team opens a three-game series against the Angels on Friday, but he plans to give Duda three starts at first for every four games moving forward, with Davis likely making a start every fourth day.
Davis, who has made two starts this season, is batting .400 (4-for-10) with a home run, a double, a walk and four RBIs.
"I just think it's important to keep Ikey sharp as we can, because he'll be coming off the bench in big situations," Collins said. "So, we need to get him at-bats."
Meanwhile, Collins likes some of what he has seen from Duda this season, but believes the former USC Trojan is pressing. Duda was sidelined for three weeks in March due to a left hamstring strain.
"I know that due to the fact that he didn't get the amount [of at-bats] we wanted in Spring Training, he's probably, knowing Lucas, he really wants to step up and be the go-to guy," Collins said. "So it's going to be a matter of hopefully getting him calmed down to where he goes back and uses the field to hit a little bit more."
Mets preparing to reel in Angels' Trout
ATLANTA - Angels outfielder Mike Trout has an All-Star history against the Mets.
Trout singled against former Met R.A. Dickey in his first-ever All-Star appearance in 2012 and followed up with another base hit against right-hander Matt Harvey in last year's Midsummer Classic played at Citi Field.
As the Mets head to California for a three-game series against the Angels this weekend, New York is looking forward to seeing more of the young phenom.
"Obviously, he's a well-rounded player, a guy who seems like he can do it all," Mets third baseman David Wright said. "Hopefully, he doesn't do it all against us, but anytime you play this game, you appreciate the skill level a guy like that has."
Trout, 22, has finished second in the American League Most Valuable Player vote in back-to-back seasons and led the Major Leagues in Wins Above Replacement both in 2012 and 2013.
"I'm a baseball fan, and I love to see the best players like anybody else," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You don't want him to really do well against you, but I'd like to see this kid play. I've never seen him play."
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.