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Finding comfort with Bucs, Ike returns to NY

NEW YORK -- Ike Davis smiled inside the Pirates' clubhouse before Saturday's game against the Yankees. Davis made his return to New York, although the Pirates were not facing his former team, the Mets.

A month ago, the Pirates traded for Davis, a first baseman who was never able to find his groove with the Mets. Davis said he didn't feel disrespected, but instead has focused on enjoying his time with the Pirates. He can attest that a lot has changed since the trade on April 18.

"It's nice to play for someone that actually wants you or thinks you can help the team," Davis said. "I don't think the Mets hated me. I don't hate them."

Davis will play against the Mets for the first time on May 26.

With the Pirates, Davis has played well and he appears to be more comfortable at the plate, which was one of the issues that concerned the Mets. In the past 14 games entering Saturday, Davis had a .349 average, which ranked among the leaders in the National League over that span. He had gone 12-for-25 in the eight games leading up to Saturday.

Manager Clint Hurdle did not want to put too much pressure on Davis when he joined the Pirates. He told Davis he would not learn everyone's name overnight. The main objective Hurdle had for Davis was for him to figure out his swing and to get his mechanics to be more consistent.

"As time has moved forward, we've been able to add a little bit of history," Hurdle said. "We've shared a little bit of research that we had done on him with him from an educational vantage point. I think it was more important for him to understand what our expectations were."

With the Mets, Davis, 27, was expected to produce in the middle of the lineup and lead the offense by driving in a lot of runs. Hurdle made it clear that would not be expected of Davis in Pittsburgh.

Hurdle has placed Davis sixth in the batting order behind Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Starling Marte. Russell Martin, a veteran catcher, knows the difficulties that come along with joining a new team -- even if he has never been traded during the season. Martin has noticed Davis is proving his worth with each game.

"Sometimes when you have the same people around you, they have these ideas of who you are," Martin said of Davis' situation with the Mets. "When you go somewhere else, you can show new people what you can do. You can kind of just restart people's opinions of you."

Hurdle said he has been impressed with Davis' attitude when it comes to his transition.

"I think he's played a very workable, blue-collared first base for us," Hurdle said. "We'll just continue to give him opportunities."

Nate Taylor is a contributor to
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