NEW YORK -- Mets outfielder Andres Torres returned to the lineup Thursday after a two-game absence, but not in his usual leadoff spot. Manager Terry Collins slotted the slumping Torres seventh in the order, putting hot-hitting shortstop Ronny Cedeno atop his lineup card.
"[Torres is] struggling, but it starts pretty much with Ronny Cedeno," Collins said of his decision. "Ronny Cedeno has done nothing except buy in exactly to what we want him to do. He walks. His on-base is almost .400. He's swinging the bat very good right now. We've been looking for someone in that leadoff spot to get on base so that when three, four and five come up, there's some people up there they can drive in."
That is the opposite of what Torres has done, stuck in a 1-for-34 funk. Though Torres appeared in the team's last two games as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement, respectively, he was a healthy scratch from the starting lineup on each occasion.
Collins believes that slotting Torres lower in the lineup could help jump-start his production, considering how hot the outfielder was before moving to leadoff earlier this month. Torres was 5-for-12 in three starts batting seventh.
Overall, Torres is hitting .187 with a .330 on-base percentage, the latter mark more than 60 points lower than that of Cedeno. Though Cedeno holds a .289 career on-base mark, the Mets believe his improved plate discipline is sustainable, with Collins going as far as to indicate that his time in the leadoff spot may not be limited to just one game.
Mets have no plans to send Ike to Minors
NEW YORK -- Ike Davis is not going to the Minor Leagues.
Despite a massive, season-long batting slump, Davis will remain a member of the Mets for the immediate future. Manager Terry Collins relayed the news to him Wednesday evening, telling his first baseman that he does not need to worry about an imminent demotion.
"We're a better team with him out there," Collins said.
That proclamation, however, did not come with a guarantee of playing time. Davis was out of the lineup Thursday against Padres left-hander Eric Stults, and will continue to sit anytime Collins believes the pitching matchup does not favor him. It is not a straight platoon at first base -- Collins made that clear. But the Mets hope that by using Davis only when the odds are in his favor, they will effectively be able to jump-start his season.
"This game is all about confidence," Collins said. "It's all about believing in yourself, and when you're going through a slump like Ike is, you lose that confidence. It wears on you. He's not sleeping well. So one of the things we try to do is make sure that he understands we believe in him. We trust him. We think he's an outstanding player, and we told him he's the first baseman."
Collins indicated for the first time last weekend that the Mets might consider demoting Davis to the Minors if he continued scuffling, much as the Blue Jays and Marlins recently did with sluggers Adam Lind and Gaby Sanchez. Davis is hitting just .159 with a .213 on-base percentage in 145 at-bats, the second-lowest mark amongst qualified Major Leaguers.
Each ensuing scuffle brought with it a new round of questioning, which Davis could not prevent from worming into his head.
"You think about it," the first baseman said. "It's just nice to get that out of the way and know that if I go 0-for-4 tomorrow, I'm not going to get sent down.
"Obviously they have confidence in me and they're backing me, and they know I'm going to get through this. So I'm going to be here for a while, and it's just up to me to start playing better."
With Jason Bay, Ruben Tejada and Josh Thole all due back from the disabled list by mid-June, at the latest, a roster crunch looms for the Mets, meaning it's possible the team could reconsider its stance a few weeks from now. But Collins was firm Thursday in saying that Davis is his starting first baseman, which -- if nothing else -- should ease Davis mentally.
Going forward, Davis will focus more on driving the ball to right field, as he did with aplomb as a rookie in 2010. He will attempt to focus less on the intricacies of his batting mechanics and more on his feel at the plate.
"It was the easy way out, and this game's not easy," Collins said of a potential demotion. "If he's going to be an outstanding Major League player, he's got to learn how to fight through some tough times. Every time someone goes in a slump, we're not sending them out. They've got to learn how to fight, and fight through it, and grind out at-bats, and make it work and learn how to adjust. He's not going to learn how to adjust if he's in Buffalo."
Mets offer Thursday ticket holders Friday tix
NEW YORK -- Due to the inclement weather that caused a 68-minute rain delay at Citi Field on Thursday, the Mets are allowing all ticketholders from Thursday's game to redeem their stubs for complimentary admission to Friday's game against the Padres.
The first 25,000 fans to that game will also receive a Mets cap as part of the club's regularly scheduled giveaway.
Tickets can be exchanged in person Friday at the Citi Field advance ticket windows, or two hours prior to game time at the day-of-game ticket sales windows located next to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda and the left-field gate. Complimentary tickets will be available in select sections, subject to availability, and are only available for Friday's game.
Right-hander Dillon Gee is scheduled to start for the Mets, opposite Anthony Bass.
Documentary featuring Torres to be screened
NEW YORK -- The NYU School of Medicine will host a screening next week of "Gigante," a documentary detailing Mets outfielder Andres Torres' lifelong battle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The film revisits Torres' childhood years in Puerto Rico, before flashing forward to his 2011 season with the Giants and subsequent trade to the Mets.
The screening will take place from 7-9 p.m. ET at the NYU School of Medicine on May 31, and will include a discussion panel chaired by Dr. Lenard Adler, director of the adult ADHD program at NYU. Tickets are available at yungogigante-es1.eventbrite.com.
Shortstop Ruben Tejada performed "half-moon" running drills around the outer portion of the infield Thursday in his continued rehab from a strained right quad. Tejada will not return from the disabled list this weekend, as manager Terry Collins once hoped, but will participate in baserunning drills Friday, and could see game action as soon as Monday. He has been on the DL since May 7.
Outfielder Jason Bay took live batting practice Thursday at the team's Spring Training complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and should appear in Minor League games as a designated hitter next week. Bay has been sidelined since May 24 with a fractured left rib.
Recovering from a concussion, Josh Thole has begun swinging a bat but has not yet caught in a game. The Mets hope Thole will appear behind the plate for the first time Friday in an extended spring game.