'I'm Going To Say That It's Probably 80 Percent Mental For This Kid'

NEW YORK (WFAN) — It’s been a dreadful season for Mets first baseman Ike Davis.

And after being sent down by general manager Sandy Alderson, the slugger find himself under the tutelage of Wally Backman, the former Met and current manager of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s.

With Davis now on the West Coast, how is Backman planning to get the 26-year-old back on track?

“A lot of extra work,” Backman told WFAN host Mike Francesa on Tuesday. “We’ve watched tons and tons of video when he first went to the big leagues, when he had a lot of success. We’re going to take it slow, do one thing at a time, and I really believe with the people that are involved in this now … I really believe that we can get this kid right … We’ll have quite a few eyes on him and just take it one step at a time.”

Backman met with Davis at 1 p.m. on Tuesday to discuss the approach going forward, and Backman is very optimistic that Davis will turn his season — and career — around in the Pacific Coast League.

“We all start fresh,” Backman said. “I’ve watched a lot of the video from when he first went to the big leagues, and this kid has made a lot of changes, in my opinion, way too fast. It’s hard enough just to go up there and hit, but when you’re making changes in your stance and your hand position, it makes it tough on a player. We’re gonna try and take it slow with the kid, get him comfortable in the box and clear his mind up a little bit.”

The manager has an idea for how to get Davis out of his brutal slump, and it centers around him finding the right pitches to hit.

“I want the kid to go up there and just look strictly for fastballs, and fastballs that he can drive,” Backman told Francesa. “I’m going to try to get him to lay off the breaking stuff until he gets a couple of strikes, and see if we can get him back in good counts, good fastball counts where he should get fastballs … We’ll make the adjustments that need to be made for this guy. He’s gonna get right.”

The 1986 World Series champion is of the opinion that Davis’ issues are mostly in his head. Playing under the New York spotlight certainly doesn’t help ease pressure when you’re struggling, so the hope is that the fourth-year player can get his confidence back in a less stressful environment.

“I think, to be honest with you, I’m going to say that it’s probably 80 percent mental for this kid,” Backman said when asked about Davis’ lack of productivity. “And that’s why we really want to clear his mind and get him right.”

Before being demoted, Davis was batting .161 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 55 games. He struck out 66 times in 186 at-bats.

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