Monday, April 9, 2012
Ike to get 'valley' rest, Batista a closer?
By Adam Rubin
Terry Collins plans to give Ike Davis strategic rest during the season, to avoid overtaxing him and triggering his latent-but-suspected case of valley fever to flare up.
The first break is expected to be Tuesday night, with Justin Turner starting at first base, according to the manager. Collins reasoned that a night game before a day game is a good time to rest Davis, especially when the Mets are facing southpaw Ross Detwiler on Tuesday night. Lefty batters are hitting a career .259 against Detwiler, versus .281 for righty batters.
Turner will be making his first major league appearance, and second appearance including the minors, at first base.
• Who will be the closer on the days Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch are unavailable?
Surprise, surprise. Not Bobby Parnell. Not Manny Acosta. Not Ramon Ramirez.
According to Collins, 41-year-old long man Miguel Batista should get the assignment. Batista had five saves in six chances for Aguilas in the Dominican Republic during the winter league season.
Francisco has saves in each of the Mets' first three games. Because of a Friday team off-day, he has only worked two straight days, though, entering Monday.
Still, Collins was unsure three hours before the first pitch whether Francisco would be available Monday night. The manager acknowledged there remains swelling on Francisco's left knee, despite the closer receiving a cortisone shot eight days ago.
"It's down, but he can feel it," Collins said about the inflammation. "... We've got to err on the side of caution a little bit early."
• With Ruben Tejada coming off a four-hit game and the Mets 3-0, Collins is not adjusting his lineup. So Tejada will remain atop the order. And Jason Bay will remain No. 5 with Lucas Duda No. 6, at least for now.
• The Kirk Nieuwenhuis-Scott Hairston playing time arrangement will remain a strict platoon, Collins said. So Hairston will start Tuesday against Detwiler, with Nieuwenhuis getting Wednesday's assignment in center field against right-hander Stephen Strasburg.
• Andres Torres is likely to miss more than the minimum 15 days on the DL with a strained left calf, perhaps significantly longer.