KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Mickey Callaway wanted to play it safe — really safe — with J.D. Davis, it meant Amed Rosario had to do something he had never done before: play the outfield.
The manager pulled Davis, who has been dealing with a tight right calf, after being skeptical about Davis’ gait as he ran from first to third Sunday in the Mets’ 11-5 win over the Royals. Davis and Callaway insist all is fine, though Davis was pulled from Friday’s game because of the calf issue and was limited to pinch-hit duties Saturday and Sunday.
“It just didn’t look like a smooth gait to me,” Callaway said. “It looked like he might’ve been unsure. Talking to him, he was like, ‘No, I’m fine. I’m totally fine.’ But watching him, I decided to get him out of there.”
“We were thinking about leaving him in leftfield and letting him play out there. Says he feels great. Then I watched him run first to third and I was like, you know what, it’s not worth the risk.”
Davis said he plans to be available to play leftfield Tuesday.
“[Coaches and athletic trainers] told me if I got on base to take it easy, not provoke it or bother it,” said Davis, who tied the score with a single in his lone at-bat. “I didn’t feel it, and that was a good sign for me.”
Davis replaced Aaron Altherr, so when Davis came out, the Mets had no other outfielders. Callaway enacted his contingency plan, moving Rosario from shortstop to left. Other than shagging fly balls during batting practice and a few days of learning centerfield — as part of the Mets’ since-scrapped experiment — it was the first experience in the outfield of his life.
Rosario fielded a single and flyout cleanly. “At first, I was a little nervous, but once I started to loosen up, I was getting the hang of it,” he said. “Once the ball was hit to me, I was very comfortable.”
Struggling relievers Jeurys Familia (two runs, one inning) and Edwin Diaz (one scoreless inning) impressed Callaway on Sunday. Callaway said of Diaz: “That’s the best I’ve ever seen his slider since he’s been here.” Diaz’s slider averaged 91.6 mph, up from his 89.1-mph average . . . Joe Panik tied a season high with three hits Sunday . . . Will facing the Indians, his old team, this week mean anything to Callaway? “Just more of a chance to get us into the wild-card race and things like that,” he said. “Hopefully I can help out some of the pitchers with how to attack some of the hitters. That’s about it.”