J.D. Davis likely will need to keep his bat productive to remain in the Mets’ lineup regularly in what soon could become a logjam of position players once middle infielders Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez return from the injured list.
While Jeff McNeil’s month-long slump continued, Davis drove in the Mets’ lone run in a 4-1 loss Thursday night in Los Angeles. He also had lifted a key sacrifice fly in the ninth inning the previous night to tie the game before the Mets scored four in the 12th to end their five-game losing streak with a 6-2 win in San Francisco.
After batting .211 (12-for-57) in his first 23 games following a 10-week stint on the injured list, Davis now has rapped 11 hits over his past 10 games, batting .324 over that stretch.
“He’s looked better, I think his end positions are a lot better, swing path, everything. He’s getting to the ball,” Luis Rojas said of Davis. “He’s taking it a little more than what he was when we saw him swinging through [piches] repeatedly.”
The 28-year-old Davis ripped two home runs in his first start off the IL on July 17 against the Pirates, looking as if he would pick up where he left off in batting .395 with an OPS of 1.120 in April before suffering a left hand injury on May 1 in Philadelphia.
Rojas said Thursday that McNeil likely will see some action at third and possibly in left field once Baez (second base) and Lindor (shortstop) return from the IL to form a new double-play combination. McNeil is batting just .167 in August (11-for-66), however, after going hitless in four trips Thursday with two strikeouts.
“He got himself into good counts … but then he missed some pitches,” Rojas said. “We have to work on his approach, where he’s able to drive the ball. … He’s a guy that can click really quick because he’s such a good hitter, a natural hitter. We’ll keep working with him.”
Davis also committed his fourth error in 40 games (38 starts) this season at third base during the Dodgers’ two-run fifth inning, throwing the ball away after making a diving stab of Chris Taylor’s infield single.
“J.D. has been playing really good at third. And he’s been one of our best hitters, so it will be hard to take J.D. out of the lineup,” Rojas said. “So we’ve been working with Mac to stay sharp. … So he can go out there and get some reps in left field.”
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