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Ike Davis, Lucas Duda to return to middle of lineup

Mets' Ike Davis watches his pop up that

Mets' Ike Davis watches his pop up that was caught to end the fourth inning against Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game at Citi Field. (May 10, 2013) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

To spark some life into his impotent lineup, Terry Collins has tried shuffling his hitters according to matchups, even if it meant moving them down the order.

In some cases, he has left established hitters on the bench, just as he did with Ike Davis and Lucas Duda in Saturday's 11-2 drubbing by the Pirates. But following the latest blowout, Collins said he's finished trying to manipulate the lineup.

"We've got some run producers on this team," Collins said. "They're going to start hitting where they belong."

Davis will return to the fourth spot in the order and Duda is expected to round out the middle of the lineup. "It's enough [of me] trying to overmanage this," Collins said. "Let the players play . . . "

The message applies especially to Davis, who is hitting just .187 despite showing some improvement in the past week.

"Obviously, I need to perform," said Davis, who with Duda has been benched against certain lefthanders.

In their last 12 home games, the Mets are hitting .199 and averaging 2.58 runs. They are hitting .186 with runners in scoring position over their last 17 games, including a 1-for-6 performance against the Pirates.

"If we're going to be successful, obviously we're going to need Ike, and we're going to need Lucas to do what I think everybody knows they're capable of," Wright said. "Those guys, especially Ike, have a track record of driving runs."

Davis' struggles have mimicked his issues from a year ago. But Collins said he hopes restoring Davis to the cleanup role serves as a confidence boost.

"That's where he belongs," Collins said. "He knows it, he knows what he's got to do. I know what he's got to do. And we've got to turn him loose and let him do it."


Extra bases

The Mets expect to make a roster move Sunday to bolster their worn bullpen. Collins said he wants a pitcher who can work in consecutive outings, ruling out Frank Francisco . . . With the game out of hand, Collins pulled Wright so he could receive treatment on his sore left knee. Wright fouled a pitch off his knee on Friday.

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