Lo Duca upbeat upon return to Shea

Lo Duca upbeat upon return to Shea

NEW YORK -- About 30 members of the media -- mostly from New York -- hovered around Nationals catcher Paul Lo Duca in the visitors' dugout on Tuesday.

It marked Lo Duca's first appearance at Shea Stadium since signing a one-year, $5 million contract with the Nationals last December. He had spent the previous two years with the Mets.

He started the briefing by announcing that his right hand is still sore, he had a tough time swinging the bat in the cage and would not be able to play against the Mets on Tuesday. Lo Duca, who was hit by a Jeff Bennett pitch on Sunday at Nationals Park, had X-rays on Sunday, and the results were negative. If it doesn't get better soon, Lo Duca will have an MRI.

"I don't want to hurt the team," Lo Duca said. "It stinks, because I want to be out there. Hopefully, it would be OK by tomorrow or the next day. I can't swing the bat the way I want to. I'm not gong to go out there and jeopardize my teammates."

The rest of the briefing was about his time with the Mets. Lo Duca was politically correct about his time in New York. He talked about his friendships with Mets players and his love for the fans.

In the past, he would talk about how disappointing it was that the Mets didn't retain his services. But on Tuesday, Lo Duca said that he didn't follow what was going on with the New York team, and wouldn't say if the team lacked fire since his departure.

"It's fun to see those people you form a relationship with," Lo Duca said. "I know there are people that are going to boo me and some that are going to cheer me. The fans in New York were great to me. I never hid that feeling. ... They were behind me the whole way. I owe a lot to the fans."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.