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Mets rookie Davis has made impact but needs rest

New York Mets Ike Davis at the plate

New York Mets Ike Davis at the plate in the 4th inning of his game against the Reds. (July 7, 2010) Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

In New York baseball history, April 19, 2010 is not in the same league as July 29, 1978. The latter was that famous Old Timers Day at Yankee Stadium, when Billy Martin was secretly ushered in and publicly introduced as future manager. And young pitcher Ron Davis was called up from the minors for the first time.

Nothing quite as momentous happened this past April 19, other than the fact Ron's son Ike was called up from the minors for the first time-and the Mets season began a dramatic turnaround. Come to think of it, that was no small day. It might have been the Mets' biggest of 2010.

Davis was a breath of fresh air, reviving the club and sending it on a 43-30 run. But now, his manager said, the 23-year-old could use a breather.

"Ike came with a lot of poise, a very confident young man," Jerry Manuel said. "He just has a very good feel for the game of baseball. He seems to either get a big hit, a walk. He's always somewhere in the middle of a big rally for us."

But he has hit only .192 in his past 14 games, including 1-for-4 in a 3-1 loss to the Reds last night (a crisp double in the ninth). It could be his first taste of big-league fatigue. He can spend three days at home on the West Coast during the All-Star break.

"I do think for Ike, like some of the [other] young players who have played a lot, the break is coming at a good time. I think Ike needs these three days as much as anybody," Manuel said. "I think it will do him a world of good."

Davis did make a stirring diving grab on Jonny Gomes' one-out liner in the ninth Tuesday, a huge play in Johan Santana's three-hit shutout. Last night, he made another of his signature sprawling catches over the first-base railing. Still, a fresh start never hurts.

"I'm still getting used to it. I don't feel like a veteran, that's for sure," Davis said. "It's kind of like the minor leagues because we play every day, but it's still different, just with all the added stuff that playing in the big leagues entails. Sometimes in the minors, you can get away with mental days off. Here, if you make a mental mistake, it's a big deal."

He is confident enough to bat cleanup yet humble enough to lug the bag carrying everyone else's beer and wine bottles.

"He just gets it," Jeff Francoeur said. "Ike has always been so good at understanding his place on this team, understanding he is a rookie. When you see a guy who comes in and does that, it just makes you pull for him that much more. He is going to be a hell of a player for a long time."

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