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Friday, July 5, 2013
Mets recall Ike Davis from Vegas

By Adam Rubin
ESPNNewYork.com

MILWAUKEE -- Ike Davis popped into the visitors' clubhouse at Miller Park late Friday afternoon, after awaking at 5 a.m. in Tucson, Ariz., and flying through Houston to Milwaukee.

"Shalom, everybody!" Davis bellowed as teammates greeted him with hugs.

"I'm back, too," reliever Greg Burke, Davis' travel mate and fellow call-up from Triple-A Las Vegas, lightheartedly chimed in.

Twenty-five days after the New York Mets demoted Davis to the minors, he returned for the series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Manager Terry Collins immediately placed Davis in the cleanup spot and at first base. Davis went 3-for-5 with a walk and two RBIs in his first major league game since June 9 as the Mets beat the Brewers 12-5.

"It's still not fun to see .160 or whatever is on the scoreboard," Davis said. "But I've got a lot of time and I can make things up in a hurry. … Leaving on a bad note and coming back on a good note, it's nice. Hopefully I can continue this and make up some ground."

Despite Davis' return, Collins nonetheless pledged to find at-bats for Josh Satin, who has a 10-game hitting streak and .353 average in Davis' absence. Satin had started the past 11 games at first base, but found himself out of the lineup Friday.

Collins noted the Mets finally are having success against left-handed pitching after annual struggles against southpaws. So Satin might start at first base on Tuesday when the Mets face left-hander Barry Zito in San Francisco.

Satin may get an occasional start at third base when David Wright needs a rest. Collins also suggested he could get a look at Satin in the outfield, or even at second base. The Mets largely had abandoned using Satin at second base, his natural position, in recent years. Satin has appeared in only one career minor league game in the outfield.

"You don't do what Josh Satin did and then, all of a sudden, go sit on the bench," Collins said. "That's not going to work. I'm going to try to figure out how to get him in there, where to play him.

"I'm going to play him against some lefties. We're going to try to work him out in the outfield maybe a little bit -- give us some more options to try to get his bat in the lineup. We just sat here today and looked at his numbers against left-handed pitching. Boy, they're pretty stinkin' good (10-for-24). We've got to get him in there."

Said Davis: "I was really happy when they called him up when I went down. I wouldn't ask for a better person. I love Josh. And I'm excited that he's done well and has proven that he can play here, because he can. He rakes every year."

Davis hit .293 with seven homers and 13 RBIs in 75 at-bats with Las Vegas. He also had 17 walks, giving him a .424 on-base percentage in Triple-A.

Davis indicated that he did daily early work outdoors in the minors, even though Las Vegas temperatures flirted with 120 degrees. He took 150 swings every day. He noted the Pacific Coast League Player of the Week Award he earned was placed above his Triple-A locker by a mischievous clubhouse attendant.

As for substantive changes achieved in the minors, Davis said what he really accomplished was quieting his swing overall. Translation: fewer moving parts.

"It'll be noticed," he said. "Obviously, it's not like I'm standing on my head. It's going to look remotely close, but there are just little things that we changed.

"The hitch is not my problem. I've hit well with it. It's more other things than that. The hitch isn't the big thing. It's just calming everything down, being relaxed and not having so much movement with everything -- and then, when I have movement, be the right kind of movement. That's going the right direction. I got in the habit of cutting myself off by stepping too close to the plate. And I couldn't use my hips to swing or use my hands, because they'd get tied up. I'm trying to step straight, towards the pitcher now, instead of towards home plate, which is allowing my hands to work a little better.

"There's not as much hand movement. There's not as big a knee kick or anything. Just really cut it down to basics."

Davis suggested the precise timing of the call-up caught him off-guard, since he was in Las Vegas' starting lineup Thursday at Tucson before getting scratched within an hour of the first pitch.

"It could have been a week ago. It could have been a month from now. Who knows?" Davis said. "Obviously they never told me when it's going to happen, so I had to just play every day. I definitely didn't think it was happening yesterday."

In retrospect, Davis acknowledged, there was value in the demotion.

"It's not like I was mad at them for sending me down," said Davis, who was hitting .161 with 66 strikeouts in 186 at-bats before the June 10 banishment. "It's my fault. I can't blame anybody else but myself.

"I wasn't like, 'Oh yeah, you're going down. Great job, Ike.' But that's just the way the world works. When you don't play well, you don't deserve it. ...

"I went through it. I went down -- culture shock and not feeling great about yourself. But, after a while, you're kind of like, 'It's not the end of the world.' You just work hard. There's been plenty of people who have been up and down before."