LAS VEGAS - Demoted Mets first baseman Ike Davis went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and two walks Tuesday night in his first game for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s.
Davis, who was farmed out Sunday by the Mets with a .161 batting average, tinkered with his batting stance Tuesday night -- then tinkered some more midgame.
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In his first two at-bats, Davis held his hands low. That was a suggestion made five hours before the game by Las Vegas manager Wally Backman and hitting coach George Greer during an early batting practice: move the hands down to eliminate a hitch in Davis' swing.
In theory, that will stop Davis from dropping his hands and then bringing them back up before he swings.
But Davis didn't stick with the new approach after popping to center and taking a called third strike in his first two at-bats against Tacoma righthander Brian Sweeney.
In his third plate appearance, Davis held his bat high over his head. He walked on a 3-and-2 pitch against righthander Forrest Snow.
Davis kept the bat high in his fourth plate appearance. With runners on first and second in the seventh inning, he struck out looking on a 3-and-2 pitch against lefthander Brian Moran.
In the ninth, Davis walked against righthander Logan Bawcom to help Las Vegas' game-winning rally.
Davis, who declined to speak to the media at Citi Field on Sunday, said before the game he was "not really" relieved to have been sent down after weeks of speculation (even though Backman later said he thought Davis did appear relieved).
"It's not a good feeling," Davis said. "I was a little down, for sure. You're getting fired or demoted. In a normal job, that would be what happens.
"I don't ever want to come back to the minor leagues after playing in the big leagues for three straight years. But sometimes there's blips in the road and you've got to just go through it and come out stronger and become a better baseball player.
Davis, 26, is making $3.125 million this year. He is trying to look on the bright side: He's a four-hour drive from his Phoenix-area home; Vegas isn't a bad place to visit; and he'll be able to work on things without the scrutiny he faced in New York.
"It's a little, I guess, easier for me to try stuff in a game versus up in the big leagues," he said. "If I try a new stance or something and that day I go 0-for-4 with three pop-ups to the infield, it's not like all of New York is going to kill you."
Or, as the spicy-tongued Backman put it: "I've been booed in New York before, but probably not that much. It's ---- tough on a player. In New York City, you can find out who the mentally tough guys are who can handle that ----. And I believe Ike can handle it. Because he put up with it for a long ---- time."
Said Davis: "Hopefully down here, I can figure it out, and hopefully I can come back whenever they want me to and help out . . . Hopefully, if I rake, I'll be up there soon."
The other Mets sent down Sunday had a mixed night. Robert Carson blew the save, allowing three runs in the ninth. But Mike Baxter went 2-for-4 with a triple and a walk. And Las Vegas won, 8-6, in the ninth on Zach Lutz's three-run home run. Davis scored the tying run.