NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Ike Davis has no idea what all the fuss is about.
The Mets first baseman responded Tuesday to a report that said the team will consider trading him this offseason in part because of concerns that he’s resistant to coaching and stays out too late.
“I don’t really have an answer for that because it’s never been an issue. I’ve never done anything wrong,” Davis told reporters. “I show up to the field ready to play every day. I really don’t even know where it’s coming from and it’s not really true.”
Davis said he’s never had a meeting with the Mets about his nightlife, and the criticism came “out of the blue.”
“It’s hard to answer questions when no one can say who it was or why they even said it,” Davis explained. “I don’t know if it’s a cheap shot. It’s falsely accused, I guess. But it just comes out of nowhere and it happens to athletes like this. A rumor, or something said, and it’s blown out of proportion, so you really can’t do anything about it.”
“I show up every day. I play hard,” he added to the New York Daily News. “It is unfair to me, and it doesn’t make sense.”
Mets manager Terry Collins defended Davis, saying there’s no way he could have played 141 games already this season if he was partying too hard all the time.
Collins hinted that such behavior was more common in baseball 20 years ago – before there was testing for amphetamines – but now players can’t simply “fix it” if they’re tired or have a hangover.
“There’s not a coach in that office, not the manager, the front office, that has ever brought up a problem with Ike Davis,” Collins said. “So that is as far from the truth as anything I’ve ever read.
“I just want to make sure everybody understands – we’re behind Ike Davis 100 percent. I don’t want this to ever be a defamation on his character. He’s a stand-up guy. Matter of fact, speaks the truth above and beyond the need for it,” he added.
The 25-year-old Davis, in his third big league season, is one of the few Mets position players who might draw aggressive interest from other teams. If he was traded for much-needed help in other areas, New York could go with Lucas Duda at first base, his natural position.
Duda has showed power potential but he struggled to adapt to the outfield this season and was demoted to the minors for a month.
There’s a debate within the organization about whether Davis or Duda is the “first baseman of the future,” the Daily News reported. A team source told the paper that the Mets “won’t shop either aggressively this winter, but will be open to the right deal for either.”
“Now, as far as a possible trade, there’s not a guy in that clubhouse who can’t get traded. Not a guy,” Collins said. “Ike was upset today, he came to see me and I said, `Look, unfortunately, how some things work, perception is reality in baseball, as we know. If you’re accused of not playing hard, the only way to change it – play really, really, really hard every day. And you fight that.’ So I told Ike, `You know what? You fight it. Finish strong and then give them something to write about. Give them something really positive to write about.'”
Davis, who played only 36 games last season because of an ankle injury, was confounded by the whole late-night hubbub.
“I don’t know what `late’ is because when you leave the ballpark at 12, you get back to your place at 12:30, you watch a movie, it’s 2:30. Is that late?” he said. “It’s up to everyone to decide what late is. If I had a job where I had to wake up at 6 in the morning it might be late, but it’s not. So our lifestyle is a little different.”
Davis was penciled in to bat cleanup Tuesday night before New York’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies was postponed because of inclement weather.
The game was called about three hours before it was supposed to start and will be made up at 7:10 p.m. on Thursday, originally a day off for both clubs. The surging Phillies began the day trailing St. Louis by 3 1/2 games for the second NL wild-card spot with 14 to play, though other teams were in their path.
“For me, I’d just as soon play today. I don’t know sometimes if sitting helps you or not,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said.
Light rain was falling on a blustery evening at Citi Field, with a howling wind whipping through the ballpark under overcast skies. The forecast called for thunderstorms throughout the night.
Cole Hamels will pitch Wednesday night for Philadelphia against Mets rookie Matt Harvey, slated to make his final start of the season. The Phillies bumped Tyler Cloyd from Tuesday to Thursday, when he will face fellow rookie Jeremy Hefner.
Davis got off to a horrendous start this season and the Mets considered sending him to the minors to work through his struggles. Supportive teammates, however, expressed to the club their desire that he stay with them in the big leagues – and Davis rebounded.
He is hitting only .223 but leads the Mets (66-81) with 27 home runs and is tied with David Wright for tops on the team in RBIs (81).
“If you’ve seen my stances this year, we’ve tried a lot of things,” Davis said. “I’ve done everything the coaches have asked me.”
After seeing the report, he said he asked New York’s coaches if they had any issue with him and they said no.
“It doesn’t even really make sense,” Davis said. “You’d think that would have come out when I was hitting .100 with no home runs and no RBIs. But since that, I’ve done better. Now it’s coming out. It’s kind of weird.”
Did Ike say all the right things? Be heard in the comments below…
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