PITTSBURGH -- About two hours before first pitch last night, Ike Davis sat in Mets manager Terry Collins' office at PNC Park with the door open. The two were presumably discussing what Davis can do to get out of the slump that had him out of the lineup against lefthander Erik Bedard.
Collins, after previously saying Davis would play, had a change of heart. He said it was because Bedard was holding lefthanded batters to an average of ".080".
Collins exaggerated. Bedard was actually holding lefties to a .161 average. That's the same as Davis' season mark. And, as Davis pointed out, he's actually hitting better against lefties: .188 to .149. But he still sat.
Vinny Rottino, recalled before the game, made his first career start at first base. The only lefties in the lineup against Bedard were Lucas Duda and pitcher Johan Santana as Daniel Murphy was given a planned night off and Kirk Nieuwenhuis did not start.
The lineup switch could be another sign the Mets are losing patience with Davis. Collins said Sunday that he couldn't rule out a minor-league stint if Davis didn't turn it around soon.
Davis, who entered the game as a defensive replacement and struck out swinging in the seventh and ninth, should get at least two more days: The Pirates are throwing righthanders tonight and tomorrow.
"Besides trying to make sure we have patience with Ike, we're trying to also win baseball games," Collins said. "When you've got a guy who's dominated lefthanded hitters and you've got a guy that's struggling, that's a bad match. And so the [last] thing I want to do is put this guy in a situation where he's going to fail. Try to get him in a situation where he's going to be successful."
Davis, who has been battling a cold, admitted he was disappointed to see he wasn't in the lineup.
"I want to play every day," he said. "Every day you kind of feel you want to be in the lineup. That's why we play. But obviously, a lot of people are off today because he's a lefty and we're doing the righty matchup thing. I'm not the manager."
As for the possibility of getting sent down, Davis said he wasn't even aware of Collins saying "nothing is etched in stone" Sunday. "That's a true statement," Davis said. "Nothing is etched in stone . . . I'm not sent down yet, so I don't know what to tell you guys. I'm just going to play until something happens."
What Collins wants to happen is to have Davis go back to the hitter he was as a rookie in 2010, when he hit .264 with 19 home runs and 71 RBIs in 147 games. He was even better early last year (.302, 7, 25) before a freak season-ending ankle injury May 10 in an infield collision with David Wright. "The last five or six games, I've hit the ball solid," Davis said. "Just haven't gotten hits. Lined out like four or five times. Fly out to the wall once. If a couple of those fall, it's a different story."