PITTSBURGH — Dominic Smith’s misfortune — a stress reaction in his left foot — has yielded a rare commodity for his leftfield platoon mate, J.D. Davis: everyday playing time.
Davis started in left Saturday for a seventh consecutive game since Smith landed on the injured list, part of a process that will give the Mets more information about whether Davis can be a lineup regular moving forward — as well as a chance for Davis to prove that he deserves such status.
“Leftfield is a secondary position for me, but as long as I’m in the lineup and I’m contributing, it’s pretty fun,” said Davis, a third baseman. “To get an opportunity or at least an at-bat every day, it’s huge.”
Davis has been perhaps the most successful acquisition in general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s first offseason, hitting .299 with a .367 on-base percentage and .478 slugging percentage heading into play Saturday.
Mashing lefthanded pitchers was Davis’ calling card when the Mets got him from the Astros in a January trade. He has a .304/.373/.489 slash line against lefties and a .296/.364/.472 line against righties this season.
“When someone says I’m a lefty specialist or whatever, I don’t take it to heart,” Davis said. “It doesn’t disappoint me. I have confidence in myself that I can get the job done against righties.”
Manager Mickey Callaway said: “He’s been tremendous. Obviously at the plate, he continues to excel there. He’s played an adequate leftfield.”
In six games after Smith got hurt, Davis hit .389 with a 1.167 OPS. He hopes to play well enough that his name is listed along with Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto as part of the Mets’ key group of young position players.
“Right now, I have no idea [how the Mets view him],” Davis said. “Hopefully, I feel like I’m part of the young core, the young group we have right now that’s playing with each other more and growing.”
The Mets made a couple of roster moves Saturday, recalling Jacob Rhame from Triple-A Syracuse and sending back Tyler Bashlor, who allowed three runs in an inning Friday.
They also claimed lefthander Donnie Hart off waivers from the Brewers and sent him to Syracuse. Hart, 28, has a 3.17 ERA in 97 major-league games (88 innings) with Baltimore and Milwaukee the past four seasons but hasn’t been able to stick with an organization. He got picked off waivers by the Dodgers in March, the Brewers in April and now the Mets.
“Another depth piece for us,” Callaway said. “We’ll get him in Triple-A and see what he can show us.”
Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz and Todd Frazier spent part of Friday visiting former Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco at his Pittsburgh-area home.
Mesoraco, 31, was in spring training with the Mets but walked away from his minor-league contract and the game — effectively retiring — when the club didn’t choose him for the Opening Day roster.
“Some guys can do it [walk away]. If they’re all right with it, you can only respect it,” said Frazier, who like Mesoraco was a 2007 Reds draft pick. “He’s doing just fine. We had a good little day there.”
Mesoraco joined the Mets after the Matt Harvey trade in May 2018 and became deGrom’s personal catcher during his Cy Young Award-winning season.
Seth Lugo was named the National League reliever of the month for July after posting a 0.00 ERA and 0.32 WHIP in 12 2⁄3 innings. Of the 42 batters he faced, 16 struck out, three got hits and one walked. Since MLB invented the award in 2005, only one other Mets reliever had won it: Billy Wagner in July 2007 . . . Jeff McNeil was out of the lineup Saturday as the Mets prepare for their doubleheader Monday against the Marlins. “I have guys in mind that I’d like to play both games,” Callaway said, “and we’re going to try and figure out what we need to before and after that doubleheader.”