Ike Davis 'likely' has Valley Fever

Mets first baseman Ike Davis during spring training Mets first baseman Ike Davis during spring training at Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Feb. 27, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

advertisement | advertise on newsday

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- What the Mets first described two weeks ago as a benign lung infection for Ike Davis "likely" is Valley Fever, a fungal condition caused by inhaled spores from overturned soil that is almost exclusive to the United States' southwest corner, the Mets said.

Davis, who lives outside of Scottsdale, Ariz., in the offseason, has shown no ill effects since arriving at spring training.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, most people with a healthy immune system never have any symptoms, and "the disease almost always goes away without treatment."

The Mets released a statement Saturday night that said Davis "likely has Valley Fever, which is expected to resolve itself over time." It also said Davis is not contagious, is not taking any medication for the condition and "does not currently exhibit any of the outward symptoms associated with Valley Fever."

As for the prognosis, that hasn't changed much in the past two weeks. "Ike has been instructed to avoid extreme fatigue," the Mets' statement said. "No additional tests or examinations are pending, but Ike will have a follow-up exam when the team returns to New York in early April."

The Mets' plan is to monitor Davis, but at this point, he is not expected to be sidelined. He had two hits in Saturday's intrasquad game, including a double, but later admitted to feeling a little worn out.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"I'll tell you what," Davis said, "the bases did feel like they were far apart today."

Part of the reason could be that it was Davis' first "game" in nearly 10 months. Last season, he suffered a bone bruise in his left ankle May 10 in a freak collision with David Wright at Coors Field and never returned. With Davis slow to heal from that injury, microfracture surgery was considered before rest was prescribed instead.

Valley Fever, or Coccidiodomycosis, can cause flu-like symptoms or ones similar to pneumonia, according to the Library of Medicine website. If the symptoms do occur, they "typically start five to 21 days after exposure to the fungus."

Davis was sent back to New York last month to be examined by the team's medical staff as a follow-up to his spring training physical. Upon his return to Florida, the Mets announced that Davis had a minor lung infection that would require no treatment and would disappear on its own. The team intended to keep his early workload in check.

Valley Fever is rare, but Conor Jackson, then with the Diamondbacks, played only 30 games in 2009 after coming down with the infection. Unlike Davis, who appears to be fine, Jackson said he lost 35 pounds because of the condition. After a trade to the Athletics, he recalled his struggle.

"People didn't recognize me, I was so pale," Jackson told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It was a struggle just to get up to go to the bathroom."

For now, it appears, the Mets' biggest concern is how Davis rebounds from his bone- bruise issues. During Saturday's game, Collins was more focused on how his ankle looked in general.

"When he's on first, I'm not even watching the pitch," Collins said. "I'm seeing how he reacts, to see how he's feeling, if I can see any evidence that his ankle may be bothering him when he starts out. When he hit that double, I watched him the entire way to see how he made the turn, if he was cautious or not. He looks great."

Still, Collins has talked about expanding his contingency plans at first base. Justin Turner has spent time there in spring training and Mike Baxter, primarily a reserve outfielder, played first during the intrasquad game. The manager also intends to put Adam Loewen at the position for some Grapefruit League games.

Subscribe to Newsday’s sports newsletter for stories, photos and videos about your favorite New York teams plus national sports news and events.

You also may be interested in: