They spent parts of four years molding him into an outfielder, a 230-game process during which Lucas Duda rarely looked comfortable. But with Ike Davis struggling in the minors and their offense in desperate need of some punch, the Mets announced Monday they were putting at least a temporary end to this experiment.

Duda started at first base Monday night against the Atlanta Braves.

"We’re not scoring runs," manager Terry Collins said. "So we’re trying to look at what’s our best option both offensively and defensively. And I think this is a pretty good lineup."

The reconfigured alignment returns Duda to first base and Daniel Murphy to second. Murphy spent the past week playing first after Davis’ demotion. The Mets wanted to give 25-year-old Jordany Valdespin an audition at second base.

But Valdespin struggled at the plate (3-for-23, 1-for-his-last-19). And Murphy struggled at first base. So the Mets made a switch.

Collins said he wants to get his two youngsters – Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Juan Lagares – into the lineup more often. Moving Duda to first base offers Collins an extra spot without sacrificing hot-hitting veteran Marlon Byrd.

Nieuwenhuis started in left field and Lagares in center and at the leadoff spot of Monday night’s lineup.