NEW YORK -- The Mets welcomed Lucas Duda back into the fold on Sunday, when they recalled the outfielder from Triple-A Buffalo and optioned Jordany Valdespin to make room. Valdespin will be back when rosters expand, said manager Terry Collins, and Duda is here to play every day.
"He cares a lot," Collins said of Duda. "Going into Spring Training, there was a lot said about his importance and what he needed to do production-wise. When he started to struggle, he got frustrated, and again, that's human nature. He needed to go back and be the guy that got here. Be the same guy that hits the ball all over the field. ... The power will always be there. The power will come with good contact."
Duda batted .260 with three home runs and eight RBIs during his four-week sojourn in Buffalo, and Collins freely said that he didn't necessarily earn his promotion based on his numbers. It was more on the feel, said Collins, and the Mets have gotten good reports from Buffalo manager Wally Backman.
"Sometimes guys get sent out and they don't think they belong there. It's tough for them to get motivated again," said Collins. "I talked to Wally enough times. He said, 'Look, he's swinging better. He looks better at the plate.' Lucas Duda is a really good player and a big part of this thing. We need him back in the lineup. That's why he's here."
Duda, for his part, said he's happy to be back and fixated on salvaging his season with a hot September. He said he's happy to play wherever and hit wherever the Mets want him to, and he also said that he was initially disappointed by his demotion, but ultimately understood the reasoning.
"I didn't produce and I didn't play well. I would've done the same thing to myself," Duda said. "At the time, I was kind of disappointed, but at myself more than anything else. I was given this opportunity to play every day and I didn't make the most of it. I was definitely disappointed in myself, and a couple days later, I understood what was going on. If you don't produce, you don't play."
Valdespin, batting .242 with eight home runs in 75 games, will head back to Buffalo for a week and will return in September when rosters expand. Valdespin, said Collins, was caught in a roster crunch.
"He'll be back in a week. We needed a spot," Collins said. "Lucas is going to play. I said, 'Look, go down there and play. Get yourself in the lineup.' I want him to play some second base, too. I don't want him to just stick in the outfield. I want him to move around a little bit."
Dickey open to signing long-term deal with Mets
NEW YORK -- The future closed in on R.A. Dickey from all angles Sunday, when his contract came into play as the hottest topic of the day. The Mets hold an option for Dickey's services in 2013, and the veteran said he'd be open to signing a long-term deal that delays his shot at free agency.
Dickey could hit the open market after the 2013 campaign, and general manager Sandy Alderson told a group of season-ticket holders Sunday that he'd love to retain Dickey long term. That message filtered back to the right-hander in the clubhouse, and he said that the feeling is mutual.
"I love it here and I've always voiced that," said Dickey, an All-Star for the first time this season. "A part of me enjoys being loyal to an organization that's given me a shot. I connect well with the fan base, [the media] has always been good and I'm comfortable here. That says a lot for me and where I am in my career.
"I do want to win, too, because I am at the place I am in my career. And I want to be part of that solution here, whatever that's going to be. I'd like to know what direction they're going -- I think that's fair -- and make the decisions accordingly. But I'm open to talking about whatever they'd like."
Dickey, 37 years old, can be brought back at a modest price for next season, and he said that his representatives engaged in preliminary extension talks with the Mets earlier in the year. Both sides eventually decided to wait until the offseason to continue their extension talks in earnest.
And judging by that experience, Dickey said that he'll likely test free agency if he starts next season without a contract. That's not a hard-and-fast rule, he said, but he doesn't want to negotiate during the year. That's just speculation for now, he said, and the important part is he wants to come back.
"Sandy knows," said Dickey. "I've told him that I've enjoyed being here and think that he's going to turn this thing around. I want to be a part of that. We'll see. Time will tell. I think they have to exercise an option by [November], but I don't want to go into the next season, and at that point, negotiate a contract that close to free agency. The little that I did it here, I didn't like it. I didn't enjoy it."
Manager Terry Collins was asked about Dickey and David Wright, who will also be seeking a contract extension this winter, and he said that it's important for the Mets to retain both. And if they're able to, said Collins, it will be because both players have confidence in the core going forward.
"I think those guys realize that we have the pieces," said Collins. "We've got to keep them healthy and keep them more consistent. We can't have these major lapses that we're going through right now. And especially in David's case -- I salute the guy, because he's of the mindset that, 'I've got to be the guy.' ... If those pieces are there, I think David and R.A. are saying, 'Look, we've got a chance to win. And fast.'"
Dickey concurred, and he said he'd be looking hard at whether the Mets retain Wright long term.
"Any time you sign a high quality player, it's a message that you're going in a certain direction," said Dickey. "David represents that, for sure. And you'd have to ask him, but I'd have to believe that he's of like mind. This could be his last contract. He's going to want to know he has a shot at it."
Murphy strains right shoulder, to have MRI
NEW YORK -- Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy felt a shoulder injury before his eighth inning at-bat in Sunday's 2-1 win over the Astros but still tried to hit, and the home team pulled him right before the start of the ninth inning.
Murphy's injury was classified as a posterior strain of the right shoulder shortly after the game, and the infielder will undergo an MRI on Monday. Murphy doesn't think the injury is serious but looks forward to confirmation.
"It's normal soreness that I feel over the course of the year. It was just amplified a little bit today," he said. "We're going to get it checked out tomorrow, but I fully anticipate that I'll be fine."
Murphy, who went 0-for-4 in the victory, said he felt his shoulder tighten up while in the dugout late in the game. He still tried to hit, though, and flew out with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. He said he expects to be available Tuesday, pending the results of his medical examination.
"I never felt a pop," he said. "I was on the bench and it kind of felt more like a spasm. I got the trainer to work on it a little bit ... but I don't think it was quite enough time. Once I got in the box, it grabbed on me a little bit, but I actually felt better at the end of the [at-bat] than I did at the beginning."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.