Four-strikeout night by first baseman has Collins weighing options
NEW YORK -- The Mets have analyzed the Ike Davis situation from every angle, internally debating whether the youngster could benefit from a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas. Now, after Davis went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on Friday night, the Mets appear to be nearing a decision.
Davis, the Mets' first baseman, is struggling mightily, and manager Terry Collins has backed him all the way. Collins said the time wasn't right to make a switch as recently as Friday afternoon. But one day later, he appeared to have changed his mind.
"When you see what he did last night, you say to yourself, 'Is now the time?'" said Collins. "Right now, the focus really has to be on what's best for Ike Davis in his baseball future. He's a big piece of this puzzle, and it's eating him up. That's where you're concerned. When it's all said and done, he's a human being. He's a guy who's trying his heart out. He's struggling, and these guys are bothered by the fact they're not helping their teammates. He's one of the best teammates."
Davis, a former first-round Draft pick, endured the same type of difficult start last year, when he batted .185 in April and followed that up with a .154 mark in May. But the Mets stuck with Davis, and he rewarded their confidence by batting .255 with 20 homers in 75 games after the All-Star break.
That type of reversal has never seemed in the offing this year, and Collins said the Mets are starting to re-think their priorities. Davis is 26 years old, and Collins said that he isn't really sure whether the player would be better off rebuilding his batting stroke and confidence at Triple-A.
"It's difficult to answer -- maybe," said Collins. "We're not getting it done, as hard as we've tried and as hard as Ike is trying. Last night, [Davis and batting coach Dave Hudgens] went to the cage and worked on a few things that he's hopefully going to take into the game today. It's really tough to do, because once you get in the batter's box, you can only do one thing -- and that's see the ball. We'll just see what happens today."
One thing is certain: Collins doesn't want Davis sticking around just so he can make wholesale changes to his batting approach. The proper place for that, for Collins, is in the Minor Leagues, and there's a reason for that: The game in the big leagues is too tough on a nightly basis.
"If you start to re-make his swing, you can't do it here," said Collins of his former cleanup hitter. "We don't have the time where he gets in the batter's box and feels uncomfortable because his hands are in a different place or his stance is narrower, whatever he might want to do."
Collins, moments later, was asked whether he's had further discussions about Davis with members of the organization, and he indicated that they've done all the talking they can do.
"We've pretty much had enough discussions on the Ike Davis situation," said Collins of the big picture. "We'll hopefully see maybe in the next few days where we stand and where he's at. Let him have a chance to take into the game what he tried to work on last night and see if it works."
Davis singled in the 10th inning of Saturday's suspended game, breaking an 0-for-12 skid and raising his average to .149 this season. Davis did not start the second game, but Collins said he could take solace in his hit.
"Hits count," said Collins. "Home runs are going to happen with him. You make solid contact, you make consistent contact, you're going to put some balls in the seats. If you're going up there trying to hit home runs, it's a lot harder. When you're using the whole field, every hitter is dangerous."