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."