Mets first baseman Ike Davis defended his work ethic and his willingness to be coached, both of which came under scrutiny Tuesday amid rumblings that he might be jettisoned in an offseason trade.
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"I don't really have an answer for that because it's never been an issue," Davis said Tuesday night before severe weather wiped out the Mets' scheduled game with the Phillies. "I've never done anything wrong. 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."
Citing anonymous sources, ESPN reported that internal concerns about Davis' nightlife and his resistance to coaching have encouraged the Mets to explore a trade. With the lefthanded-hitting Davis out of the picture, the Mets could slide the lumbering Lucas Duda to first base, allowing the club to keep his power bat in the lineup without enduring his subpar defense in the outfield.
In recent days, Mets manager Terry Collins has made no secret about his desire to give Duda more playing time. Against lefthanded starters, Collins has started Duda at first base, triggering speculation about Davis' future.
But Collins disputed concerns about Davis' work ethic, while also lending context to rumblings about a trade.
"As far as a possible trade, there's not a guy in that clubhouse that can't get traded," Collins said. "Not a guy."
That the Mets have no untouchables is hardly a surprise. At 66-81, they have assured themselves their fourth straight losing season. Even if the club hashes out a long-term extension with third baseman David Wright, they must fill holes behind the plate, in the bullpen and in all three spots in the outfield.
One rival executive said Tuesday that the Mets' best chances of acquiring quality players will hinge on their ability to creatively package several players such as Davis, who likely wouldn't be enough to warrant a meaningful return on their own.
Davis already has endured a tumultuous season. He contracted valley fever in camp, slumped badly in the opening months, then bounced back only to be blindsided by what he called false accusations.
Davis, 25, hit just .158 with five homers in his first 56 games. But since June 9, he's hitting .264 with 22 homers, 60 RBIs, and an on-base plus slugging percentage of .897. With three more homers, Davis would reach 30 in a season for the first time in his career.
"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."
Collins backed Davis' assertion that no member of the coaching staff or front office has ever made an issue of his work habits. And not once, the manager said, could he recall Davis ignoring the directives of a coach.
Said Collins: "I just want to make sure everyone understands. We're behind Ike Davis 100 percent."
Phillies will make up the rained out game with a 7:10 p.m. matchup Thursday . . . Matt Harvey will make his final start of the season Wednesday night. He was slated to pitch Tuesday night. Even before the game was officially called, the threat of bad weather was enough for Collins to scratch Harvey. The manager didn't want to deal with the chance of shutting down Harvey in the middle of his outing if inclement weather forced a delay.