ATLANTA -- It is impossible for Terry Collins to know for sure. But from everything the Mets manager reads and hears, he believes Ike Davis is making genuine progress at Triple-A Las Vegas.
"They say he's made real good strides," Collins said Thursday, one day after Davis went 2-for-2 with a double, one RBI and three walks in a game at Tucson. "The report was he's listening, trying everything that they're asking him."
That list is long. Specifically, in Collins' words, Davis is "trying to calm the hitch down, not have it so big." He is "trying to keep his upper body back, behind the baseball a little bit more." Davis is also "trying to keep his head in a little bit better" and prevent himself from lunging at the ball. He is "keeping his front hip in, instead of having it fly," and is gripping his bat slightly differently.
For a professional hitter used to routine, changing any one of those things can be difficult. Davis, for example, has operated with a pronounced hitch in his swing for years, but the Mets now consider it a major flaw that he needs to correct.
So altering all those things at once is a massive undertaking, and no one is quite sure how long it might last. All the Mets know is that they are encouraged by the early progress of Davis, who has two singles, two doubles, six walks and only one strikeout over his last 14 plate appearances with the 51s. Though he has yet to show much power at Vegas, his on-base percentage in nine Minor League games sits at .439.
"When he starts swinging good, that's when he'll be back," Collins said. "I don't have any date. And as I said when we sent him out, I don't think it's going to happen overnight. It's going to be a process of getting comfortable with what he's working on."
Promotion of Torres paying dividends for Mets
ATLANTA -- The Mets moved small mountains to promote Carlos Torres from Triple-A Las Vegas last week, designating pitcher Collin McHugh for assignment -- a transaction that ultimately resulted in the trade for Eric Young Jr. -- and optioning Greg Burke to the Minors.
So far, Torres is proving why, living up to the glowing scouting reports from Vegas. Striking out four over 2 1/3 shutout innings of relief on Wednesday, Torres extended his scoreless streak to 4 1/3 innings since joining the Mets, with five strikeouts and one walk.
"I'm just trying to do my job to help out this team -- throw strikes, try to get out of jams, whatever [manager Terry Collins] needs," Torres said. "I feel like some of my pitches have gotten better. My cutter is a little sharper, my curveball has a little more depth. So it seems like my stuff has gotten a little sharper. I just need to keep working on it."
One benefit Torres gives the Mets is his ability to pitch multiple innings as a true long man, though Collins has not decided how the former starter best fits into his bullpen mix.
• The Mets rewarded three of their prospects for strong first halves with Class A Savannah, promoting catcher Kevin Plawecki, first baseman Jayce Boyd and closer Bret Mitchell to Class A St. Lucie, one step up the organizational ladder. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who made the South Atlantic League All-Star team along with those three, did not earn a promotion.
• Eric Young Jr. batted leadoff Thursday for the second straight game, this time sliding over to left field to accommodate Juan Lagares in center. Young, a switch-hitter who batted right-handed against Braves lefty Mike Minor, is a marginally better career hitter from that side of the plate.