Morning Briefing: Aargh! Ike returns

Associated Press

Ike Davis is back at Citi Field on Monday, now a Pittsburgh Pirate.NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Ike Davis is back!

Davis and the Pittsburgh Pirates begin a three-game series at Citi Field at 1:10 p.m. Monday.

“It’ll be weird being in the visiting clubhouse for the first time,” Davis told the Pirates’ web site. “Truth is, it’s not something big to me. Just gotta do it, go and try to beat the Mets.”

Davis is actually back in New York for the second time since being traded for right-hander Zack Thornton and a player to be named (expected to be from the 2013 draft, which means an announcement coming next month). The Pirates played in the Bronx on May 17 and 18.

At Yankee Stadium, Davis told New York reporters: “It’s nice to play for someone that actually wants you or thinks that you can help the team. Obviously the Mets thought I could help the team ... a couple years [laughs] -- ’cause I was there for almost five. I had one bad season, and they had to make a change. And they traded me away. I don’t really know what else to say about that. It’s nice to be with a team that likes you. I don't think the Mets hated me ... until, you know.”

Davis is batting .303 (30-for-99) with two homers and 11 RBIs since the April 18 trade. He arrives on a six-game hitting streak, during which he is 10-for-23 with a homer and four RBIs.

“Really, it takes a while during the season to find a groove, and I’m usually pretty decent once I do find it,” Davis told Pirates.com. “Usually it takes me a little longer. I found it earlier this year.”

Lucas Duda, by contrast, is hitting .208 (20-for-96) with two homers and 11 RBIs since April 18.

Terry Collins said having Davis in town will not be extra motivation for Duda, who left 15 runners on base in nine hitless at-bats in the weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“Any time you’re in a slump it’s mentally exasperating,” Collins said.

Monday’s news reports:

Daniel Murphy dropped the third out at second base on a throw from David Wright in the top of the ninth as the tiebreaking run scored and the Mets dropped Game 1 of a doubleheader to the Diamondbacks, 2-1, Sunday at Citi Field. The Mets grounded into five double plays, matching the franchise record for a nine-inning game.

Rafael Montero became the second Mets pitcher to strike out 10, joining Zack Wheeler on April 25 against the Miami Marlins. Montero received a no-decision despite limiting the D-backs to one run and two hits in six innings.

The Mets salvaged a doubleheader split and the finale of the three-game series by winning Sunday’s nightcap, 4-2. Daisuke Matsuzaka, in his first start of the regular season, contributed six innings in a 98-pitch effort. He limited Arizona to two runs on three hits and a walk in six innings to earn the win. Jenrry Mejia, who until recently had not pitched on consecutive days in four years, worked both games of the doubleheader. He suffered the loss in the opener because of Murphy’s drop, but picked up his third save in Game 2.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.

Dillon Gee felt uncomfortable and did not get on a mound Sunday for the first time since landing on the disabled list with a right lat-muscle strain. As a result, it is clear Gee’s return is not close and Jacob deGrom and Montero should be in the rotation for the foreseeable future.

Eric Young Jr. is expected to land on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring before Monday’s game. Matt den Dekker will be promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Vic Black, who served as the 26th man for Sunday’s doubleheader, was returned to Vegas after the twinbill without appearing.

Travis d’Arnaud went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and caught for five innings for Double-A Binghamton in his first game since suffering a concussion on May 13. D’Arnaud is expected to DH on Monday with the B-Mets, catch again Tuesday and potentially be activated as soon as Wednesday.

D’Arnaud told Lynn Worthy in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin he had one flashback to the concussion injury during Sunday’s game.

“There was one on a curveball in the dirt, I kind of flinched back,” he said. “It was a curveball to the left and it was kind of like the same thing. Right when he swung, I kind of fell straight back. It wasn’t even close to me, I guess. I just flinched.”

As a side note: Once d’Arnaud returns, the Mets will become the first team in MLB history to have three players with surnames beginning in lower-case Ds simultaneously on their big-league roster: d’Arnaud, den Dekker and deGrom.

• Jared Allen of East Lyme, Conn., won Sunday’s Banner Day competition with a sign that included the tickets from the 70 games he has attended since 2002.

• Native son Eric Campbell is profiled in The New London (Conn.) Day. Writes Mike DiMauro:

Fittingly, it was [Wally] Backman, so instrumental in Campbell’s development within the Mets organization, delivering the information. Start spreadin’ the news. You’re leavin’ today.

"The phone rings at 1:30 in the morning," his dad, Duke, was saying Saturday. "I got in late that night and I didn't want to disturb Amy (Duke's wife and Eric's mom), so I was sleeping in another room. Amy comes in and says, 'You have to take this call.' I'm groggy. She says, 'No, you have to take it.'"

Fancy that. Every parent's worst nightmare: The phone call in the middle of the night. That's when Lincoln's better angels of our nature are swarmed by our demons. It can't be good news at that hour.

Or it's the best news of all.

"There were tears," Duke said.

• Read more on Davis’ return in the Record.

• Giancarlo Alvarado allowed six runs in five innings and Las Vegas lost its fifth straight, 10-1 against Sacramento. Victor Cruzado, Stefan Sabol and Jorge Rivero homered as Savannah beat Lexington, 11-6. Read the full minor-league recap here.

BIRTHDAYS: St. Lucie right-hander Gabriel Ynoa turns 21. ... Teammate Paul Sewald, a reliever, is 24. ... Former Mets farmhand Kevin Mulvey is 29.


YOU’RE UP: If the Mets could undo the Ike Davis trade, would you be in favor?