- Posted: 4:09 PM, May 24, 2012
Slumping Ike Davis is out of the Mets’ lineup tonight against San Diego, but not their major leagues plans. The first baseman spoke with Terry Collins after returning from yesterday's win in Pittsburgh, and was reassured that he was in no immediate danger of being demoted.
“We told him he’s the first baseman,’’ said Collins, who gave Vinny Rottino a start at first tonight. “We’re a better team with him out there.”
At least out there some of the time, with the Mets opting to keep him up and play the matchups until he can regain his stroke. With a .159 batting average second-worst of all major-league qualifiers, Davis has struggled mightily; but Collins maintained Davis will learn more about how to adapt and fight through those struggles in the majors than the minors.
“We tried to search the options and this was the easy way out,’’ said Collins. “If he’s going to be an outstanding major league player, he’s got to learn how to fight through tough times. He’s not gonna learn how to adjust in Buffalo.”
Davis’ .065 home batting average and 22 strikeouts with men in scoring position are both the worst in the majors. But he said the confidence Collins showed in him, and the knowledge he doesn’t have to worry about an imminent demotion, helped ease his mind and allay his fears.
“I’m going to be here for an extended period of time to get my (swing) back) and playing better. Obviously they have confidence in me, they’re backing me and they know I’m going to get through this. So I’m going to be here for awhile, and it’s just up to me to start playing better,’’ said Davis, buoyed by Collins’ faith in him.
“It helped, because now I don’t have to talk about going down every day with you guys, so that’s nice. Obviously you think about it. When we answer questions, it’s not like what you guys so goes in one ear and out the other; I have to think about it, so obviously I thought about it more. It’s just nice to get that out of the way, that if I go 0-for-4 tomorrow I’m not going to get sent down.’’
While Collins was complimentary of Rottino, saying the latter has “got tremendous numbers against left-handed pitching,’’ he was clear in stating that Davis will not be stuck in a strict lefty-righty platoon, and would be used as matchups dictate.
“That’s what we’re gonna do,’’ said Collins. “He’s going to play against some (lefty) guys.”
Collins cited Davis’ success against Phillies starter Cole Hamels as an example. Davis is 5-for-10 with a homer and three RBI against the Philadelphia lefty, so will be in the lineup when they’re scheduled to face off on Monday.
“I don’t know exactly; you’re going to have to talk to Terry about it,’’ said Davis. “But for right now I’m going to be here and it just shows a lot of confidence they have in me and they know I’m going to get out of this and start performing better
“If it’s going to help the team right now obviously; it’s more about winning than just me. Whatever Terry thinks is going to be the best way to win this game, he’s going to have to do it. I back him whatever decision he makes; if I face all righties, I face all righties. If I play against lefties, I play against lefties. It doesn’t matter to me.’’