Before Ike Davis hit three home runs off Ian Kennedy in Arizona on July 28, 2012, he had a .207 batting average. He would bat .262 for the rest of the season to salvage a terrible start.
Lyle Overbay was on the opposing team and during the two games in Queens this week, Overbay engaged Davis in conversation at first base to remind him of those three swings.
“I’ve talked to him,” Overbay said. “He can hit. I even reminded him and even told him that when he hit those three home runs at Arizona against Kennedy, he never looked back. That was it. He couldn’t get out of here fast enough. I don’t know personally, but it seemed like when he hit that, the next day you could tell he was a totally different hitter.”
Even with Overbay’s positive reinforcement, Davis is not close to that average. He is 4-for-53 over his last 16 games and took a .152 average into last night’s game.
One of those four was his game-winning single in the eighth inning off Atlanta reliever Cory Gearrin. Davis followed it up with six hitless at-bats and five strikeouts against the Yankees.
That type of thing is not unusual according to Overbay, who started 2010 with Toronto batting .181 in his first 40 games after batting .265 the previous season. Overbay eventually got over .200 but it started with a sustained stretch, including a 10-for-26 week after being at .181.
“Just when you think you’ve made that adjustment, you make that adjustment and it doesn’t work. You go for two or three days and it still doesn’t work, you naturally push the panic button. It’s frustrating. I don’t wish it upon anybody,” Overbay said. “It is weird how you play this game our whole lives, make adjustments and all of sudden those adjustments don’t work. You’re lost. You’re just kind of like, ‘What’s going on?’ You’re looking at video. You’re dissecting everything and anything and a lot of it is in your head.
“From experience there was a time where I got a couple of hits but I didn’t feel right. So it’s like you’re not there yet. So that’s when everybody comes up to you and goes ‘Oh yeah, that’s it, you’re going to breakout and you’re going to go hot.’ I hope so but I don’t have a feel for it. I never got that feeling. It was just those two hits that I got was more luck than anything.”
For Overbay, the biggest indicator he was struggling was compensating to hit inside pitches or diving for outside pitches. It came down to being more comfortable during at-bats, which is what many say is more important than any kind of mechanical adjustment.
“It’s different for everybody,” Overbay said. “For me it was when I was in the box comfortable, I’m like, ‘OK that is it.’ I’m not feeling terrible. If I’m comfortable in the box, that’s a beginning, my mind’s right.”
Collins mum on meeting with Davis, Tejada
Reports surfaced Wednesday that manager Terry Collins and members of the Mets front office met with Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada after Tuesday’s win and told the struggling infielders that a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas could occur if their struggles persist.
Despite winning in the ninth inning on Tuesday, it was a rough night for the pair. Davis went 0-for-3, while Tejada committed his eighth error, got picked off second base and extended his hitless drought to 12 at-bats.
“I understand that was going to be asked today,” Collins said. “I’ll also tell you that when I have a meeting in my office, it stays in my office. If I wanted to broadcast what was being said to players on a daily basis, I’d invite everybody in. So I’ll leave it at that.”
What Collins was more expansive on was the fact he felt Tejada had better at-bats Tuesday and Davis made a few unspecified adjustments that helped him see the ball better.
Tejada saw 20 pitches out of the leadoff spot Tuesday after seeing 17 the previous night and grounding out twice on three-ball counts.
“Anytime you’re struggling, it’s going to be in the back of your mind, it has to,” Collins said. “You start searching for answers. The only answer is you have to get comfortable in the batter’s box, keep your head down and see the baseball.”
Both players declined to speak about the meeting at the end of batting practice.
Jeter visits Stadium, plays catch
The timeline for Derek Jeter’s return remains unknown but playing catch for the first time since suffering a second fracture in his left ankle on April 18, seems to indicate some kind of progress is taking place.
Jeter was at Yankee Stadium Wednesday for a brief workout and played catch for the first time since the second fracture. The next step is for him to begin fielding grounders and hitting if a CT scan shows progress in the ankle initially fractured in Game 1 of the 2012 ALCS against Detroit.
“I just started throwing today,” Jeter said. “I’ve got another test in the next week and a half and after that I’ll know [more]. I can’t run. I can’t do anything like that until the next test. We’ll wait to see what happens.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.