Terry Collins steered clear of using the word, just as he's done since Ike Davis rejoined the Mets. But the team has gone to a platoon at first base, where it's clear that Davis must earn his chances to face lefthanded pitching.
It's why the Mets intend to start Josh Satin at first base in Sunday's series finale against Phillies lefthander Cliff Lee.
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"This guy's earned a chance to play against lefties so he's going to play," said Collins, who also started Satin in Saturday's 5-4 win over the Phillies and lefthander Cole Hamels.
Satin began the day hitting .448 against lefthanders before walking and striking out against Hamels.
Collins has not been shy about finding more at-bats for Satin, a corner infielder who has been taking fly balls in the outfield during batting practice. But Collins isn't comfortable with Satin's progress in the outfield, and David Wright has made it tough for Collins to take his bat out of the lineup, even for routine off days. That leaves Satin to split time at first base with Davis, who has struggled against lefties.
"Ike's going to have to continue to work and work hard," Collins said.
Starting Monday against the Braves, the Mets will face three straight righties, which Collins called Davis' opportunity to "step up and show everybody that you are the everyday first baseman."
Cramping Buck held out
As expected, the Mets held out starting catcher John Buck, who battled cramping issues Friday against the Phillies. Buck is swinging a hot bat, hitting .367 with a homer and nine RBIs in his last seven games.
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