Ike Davis flails at a pitch on Saturday (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Ike Davis flails at a pitch during a game last season. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Is Ike Davis starting to remind anyone else of Jordany Valdespin? Sure, Ike hasn’t started posting photos of himself wearing another team’s cap on Instagram or cursing out his manager after being demoted to the minors.

But Davis keeps making it harder to be patient with him while the Mets try to figure out if he’s ever going to live up to the potential they saw in him.

Sunday night, the New York Post published an article revealing that Davis was bothered by an oblique injury for most of last season and did not tell the Mets’ trainers or coaching staff.

Mike Puma wrote:

“Davis was reluctant in admitting to The Post his oblique was an issue for most of last season…”

“’I probably should have said something earlier, but what are you going to do?’ Davis said. ‘I wanted to play better, I didn’t want to come out. If I was hitting .380, I probably would have been like, “Maybe I should let this cool down so I don’t miss [extensive] time,” but when you’re hitting .200, you can’t take weeks off.’”

Davis seems to be admitting that he put his own career ahead of the team’s needs, but that’s probably a symptom of the larger cultural problem about how the Mets handle injuries. If there’s a bright side to today’s spring training controversy, it might be Terry Collins‘ efforts to encourage players to speak up when they are hurt.

Anybody who’s ever watched what happens when Ike takes a called third strike could have predicted how he’d respond to the Post article.

Despite talking about the subject with Puma – a reporter – Davis insisted today that last year’s undisclosed oblique issue should not have been news.

“It shouldn’t have been a story anyway, because that’s what we talked about before you wrote this, was we shouldn’t write about it because it doesn’t matter. But that was nowhere in the article. It’s just an overblown thing. Everyone has injuries and they get hurt, so it was pointless to write an article.”

Ike is a 26-year-old veteran of four major leagues seasons, and he plays in one of the largest media markets in the world. He needs to realize that reporters report things and that what he said would seem like a big story to a sports editor – especially during spring training when media outlets will print anything that looks like fresh content.

I do give Davis credit for not trying to claim that he was misquoted and for not using the injury as an excuse for his poor performance in 2013. Despite what he told Puma, I have to believe the oblique situation did affect Davis’ swing to some degree.

If you’re still an Ike Davis fan, maybe you’ve got a new reason for optimism about how well he’ll play this year. If you’ve already had enough of Ike, you’ve got another reason to want him gone.

That’s probably just coincidence, but hopefully Ike Davis will be there paying attention tomorrow.

You can follow Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook or Google+, see my photos on Flickr and Instagram, and follow @Paul_Hadsall on Twitter, where I talk about about a variety of things in addition to baseball.

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About Paul

I'm the former editor of a weekly community newspaper in New Jersey. I've been a New York Mets fan for most of my life and I've been blogging about them, minor league baseball, baseball cards and autograph collecting since 2007. Contact me at paul@randombaseballstuff.com

6 responses »

  1. I’m completely done with Ike Davis. I don’t care if he hits .290 and swats 35 homers. I will celebrate the day he’s no longer on the team. They’ve cut him way too much slack over the past couple of years.

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  2. Stubby says:

    Wow, I take it the whole opposite way. This is Old School. You don’t tell the manager if you’ve got an injury you can play through because, if you do (and you aren’t David Wright or Matt Harvey), that’s the end of your career. They say it isn’t so, but it still is. Managers and higher ups begin to look at you like you aren’t tough…like you’re not a man. Pretty soon, that’s how they’re playing you (or not playing you). And, next thing you know, you’re on your way out of town–usually to the minors never to resurface. It’s a little different when you’re a pitcher–considering the investment and the value of catching things early–but you still find pitchers who won’t say anything for years. For a position player? Especially one who is struggling? Admitting you have a nagging injury is your ticket to a job at 7-11. I don’t blame Ike at all. Not sure why you do. I mean, comparing him to Valdespin is just WAAAAYYYYYY over the top. And, frankly, uncalled for. I don’t see it as putting himself ahead of the team. I see it as playing hurt. That’s usually something we praise (whether we should or not is another discussion altogether).

    I was recently reading about the A’s pitching staff that Billy Martin destroyed. You know, Mike Norris, Steve McCatty, et. al. They didn’t blame Martin because he never SAID anything. But, they said, he had a look in his eye that said you were less of a man if you couldn’t finish your game and, even though their arms were falling off, when Billy came out to “ask” if they could finish, they’d say “just give me the GD ball.” Never understood that mentality (Billy’s, not the pitchers). But I’d wager the people who fault Ike for not speaking up are the same ones who say there shouldn’t be pitch counts and why aren’t pitchers today as tough as in the old days.

    I’d also suggest you think back to when you were 26 and realize that, just because he plays baseball in a fishbowl for good money, that doesn’t mean he’s any more “mature” than you were at that age. Probably less, because athletes are catered to through high school. I don’t know why people expect (essentially) kids to act old and wise. I think it took me to about 40 to grow up. At 26, I might have reacted the same, because I didn’t yet know that sportswriters are two steps below gossip reporters. Lying snakes and low life scum, all of them. It took me until the Hall of Fame balloting of recent years to figure that out.

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    • Paul says:

      Ike needed to tell the team trainers, “Look, I can still play but my oblique is bothering me” and that needed to get passed along to Terry Collins. It’s that simple. He wasn’t helping the team and he wasn’t even really helping himself very much by keeping it a secret. But I could overlook this as part of a misguided macho culture – playing hurt to help your team is only admirable if it’s actually helping your team. David Wright at 75% is still better than Justin Turner, but Ike Davis at 75% is not a better option than Lucas Duda.

      A 26-year-old rookie would be entitled to some benefit of the doubt in regards to knowing how to deal with the media. A 26-year-old player who spent the first four years of his MLB career in a place like Tampa Bay or Oakland would probably still deserve some benefit of the doubt. But a player who spent their whole career in New York and who had a father who spent 11 years in the majors? I’m not expecting wisdom and maturity, just common sense – particularly after this winter, Ike Davis needs to know that the media is going to make anything they can into a story.

      The fact that Ike still doesn’t get it – and the fact that he apparently started screaming at a reporter in full view of the clubhouse – does make me start to think of some of Valdespin’s antics. Hopefully it’s an aberration, and Ike finally puts together that big year that will make us all forget about the little headaches along the way.

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  3. markruck says:

    if there’s a middle ground between Stubby and Paul, I guess I’m there.

    Having a major league father who played in NY, Ike should “know the drill.” But, if Davis had an oblique injury last year and didn’t tell anyone, did anyone on the Mets’ staff pick up on it, as in he looks like he’s favoring something or occasionally winces or grunts in pain when he swings? I can understand Davis’ rationale as he was teetering on irrelevancy, either a trip to the minors or outright release. So, you try and stay in the lineup and hope for things to work out in your favor.

    However, the other side of things is that it didn’t matter whether or not Davis was injured as he seems to be a borderline major leaguer, at best. I’d call him “AAAA,” as he could hit AAA pitching but couldn’t really make the jump to the majors. It happens in the minors–a guy can hit AA pitching but peters out at AAA. Yeah, he had the 32 HR a couple years ago, but he hit only .227. And he was supposedly healthy then. Maybe he hit in AAA (and he hit all through the minors). But MLB pitchers, catchers and coaches are a savvy bunch and maybe they found a weakness in Davis that they can exploit. A firstbaseman who hits .264 (his rookie year) is a dime a dozen. He got off to a great start in year two. But, as most athletes are streaky, it could happen to anybody and who knows what might have happened had he played out the whole season. Matter of fact, his last ten games before he went down he hit .184, so maybe the real Ike Davis was in the process of showing up. .227 and .205 the last two years tells me that pitchers know how to pitch him.

    My take? At best, which means when healthy, he’s the 24th or 25th man on a major league roster.

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