NEW YORK -- In the aftermath of yet another frustrating game for Ike Davis on Friday night, Mets manager Terry Collins stressed that consistent playing time, more than anything, is what Davis needs to break out of his funk. Yet when Collins drew up Saturday's lineup, he omitted Davis from the card.
Opposing a left-handed starting pitcher for the fifth time in six games, Collins pinned the move mostly on his desire to give backup first baseman Justin Turner some much-needed at-bats. But Collins did not ignore Davis' struggles.
"I don't know if he's ever had a slump, to be honest," Collins said. "He got to the big leagues in less than two years, grew up through the Minor Leagues without having to deal with failure. And now here he is -- he's facing the toughest time of his career at the Major League level. That's very, very, very difficult to do, not even talking about the market we're in."
It was a visibly frustrated Davis who discussed his season-long funk both after Friday night's 5-4 loss to the D-backs and prior to Saturday's game, on both occasions saying that his left ankle -- which he twisted in the second inning Friday -- is not an issue.
"I've faced like four lefties in a row that have been tough," Davis said. "And I've hit the ball decent. It's not like I'm looking too foolish at the plate. They're just not finding holes right now."
A fifth lefty, Patrick Corbin, started Saturday for the D-backs, prompting Collins to play Turner at first base and slot Scott Hairston -- who is slugging .976 against southpaws -- cleanup. Collins also bumped Daniel Murphy down to fifth in the lineup, batting Andres Torres leadoff for the first time since Opening Day.
The byproduct was an off-day for Davis, who is 1-for-12 since appearing to break out of his funk last weekend. Outside of a four-game stretch in April in which he hit all three of his home runs, Davis is batting .143 with three RBIs in 21 games. He is hitting .172 overall with a .502 OPS, the worst mark of any big leaguer with at least 99 plate appearances. Davis ranks just below Los Angeles' Albert Pujols (.505) in OPS.
His struggles have only been magnified at Citi Field, where Davis is batting .151 with a .488 OPS.
"Ike's scuffling a little bit," Collins said. "He's been playing. He's played five in a row, six in a row. I just needed to get Justin Turner in there today. ... We need to get the offense going a little bit, so it's kind of a two-fold thing."
Carrasco added to Mets' bullpen after victory
NEW YORK -- Slated to start Tuesday, Miguel Batista was available out of the bullpen for the final time on Saturday. As a result, the Mets brought in another reliever after their 4-3 win over the D-backs, activating D.J. Carrasco from the disabled list and optioning infielder Jordany Valdespin to Triple-A Buffalo.
Carrasco was the logical choice, given his contract status -- he is in the final season of a two-year, $2.4 million deal -- and recent run of success. The right-hander fired two shutout innings for Triple-A Buffalo on Friday night, allowing just one run over a nine-inning rehab assignment split between Buffalo and Class A St. Lucie. He struck out five during that assignment and walked one.
Carrasco, who posted a 6.02 ERA in 42 appearances last season and spent a portion of the summer in the Minors, had been sidelined since mid-March with a sprained right ankle.
The Mets had debated eschewing Carrasco in favor of a second left-hander to complement Tim Byrdak in the bullpen. But given the lack of obvious options at Buffalo and Carrasco's strong form, they went the conventional route instead.
The only twist was that the club optioned Valdespin rather than utility man Vinny Rottino, who had seemed to be little more than a temporary roster sub. The move not only allows Valdespin to continue receiving everyday at-bats at Buffalo, but also gives the Mets a third option behind the plate. In addition to catcher, Rottino can play first base, third base and both corner outfield positions.
Valdespin was 0-for-6 in extremely limited playing time for the Mets, starting one game in left field and appearing in six others as a pinch-hitter and defensive sub. The natural shortstop was hitting .276 with two home runs at Buffalo prior to his mid-April promotion.
Saturday was the makeup of Tom Seaver Bobblehead Day at Citi Field, part of the team's season-long 50th anniversary celebration. Other bobblehead nights include Rusty Staub (May 26), Keith Hernandez (June 17), Edgardo Alfonzo (July 21) and Mike Piazza ( Aug. 25).
Three-time Olympian Dominique Dawes threw out Saturday's ceremonial first pitch in support of Citi's Olympic sponsorship program, Every Step of the Way, which gives Americans the chance to support Team USA through Facebook and Twitter. Dawes also posed for photos with former Mets Olympians R.A. Dickey, Jon Rauch and first-base coach Tom Goodwin.