Mets first baseman Ike Davis may have played his last game in 2013. In the third inning, with the Mets leading 1-0, Davis skied a sacrifice fly to left field. He grabbed at his side, then left the field gingerly with trainer Ray Ramirez, writes ESPN’s Adam Rubin. Rubin later verified that the injury is a strained right oblique, an injury which likely keeps Davis out for the remainder of the season.
Davis has battled adversity all year long. Through June 9, he mustered a measly .500 OPS before the Mets demoted him to Triple-A Las Vegas. There, he posted a 1.091 OPS in 21 games, prompting the Mets to give him another shot. The power didn’t return to levels the Mets would have preferred, but his plate discipline was much improved. Between July 5 and August 30, he drew 38 walks (three intentional) and struck out 35 times in 168 plate appearances. Comparatively, from the beginning of the season through June 9, he drew 19 walks (two intentional) and struck out 66 times in 207 PA.
Rubin suggests the left-handed Lucas Duda and right-handed Josh Satin could share time at first base. Rubin also wonders if the Mets will tender Davis a contract in the off-season, as he will have earned $3.125 million this season and will enter his second year of arbitration eligibility.
The Angels’ bench is looking woefully thin this winter — so thin, in fact, that manager Mike Scioscia says he’s considering utilizing starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner on the days he’s not scheduled to pitch.
I’ve never had a pitcher pinch-run,” Scioscia told reporters Saturday. “There’s more bad than good that can come out of it. But Shohei is not just a pitcher. He’s a guy that has the ability to do some of the things coming off the bench, whether it’s pinch-hit or pinch-run, and we’re definitely going to tap into that if it’s necessary, because we feel we’re not putting him at risk. It’s something he’s able to do.
Granted, spring training allows for a certain amount of experimentation before managers and players decide what works best for them, so this may not be the strategy the Angels employ for the entire season. In addition to coming off the bench between starts, Ohtani is also expected to see 2-3 days at DH every week, forcing Albert Pujols to shift over to first base to accommodate the new two-way star.
Ohtani’s hitting prowess has already been well-documented — he has a lifetime .286/.358/.500 batting line from NPB and crushed a batting practice home run during his initial workouts with the team this week — but his skills on the basepaths have received less attention so far. MLB Pipeline describes the 23-year-old phenom as a “well-above average runner” whose speed has yet to manifest stolen bases: he’s nabbed just 13 bases in 17 chances over the last five years. That’s a number Scioscia hopes to see increased this season, though he doesn’t want his ace pitcher making any head-first slides on the basepaths to do so.
To be sure, it’s an unorthodox role for any young player to step into, but if anyone can pull it off, Ohtani can.