Ike expects boos, but may be surprised

NEW YORK -- Ike Davis brought his humor back with him to Citi Field for his reunion with his former team.

Asked what he likes about Pittsburgh better than New York, Davis suggested it was the ability to not think about baseball away from the ballpark.

“Maybe going to get coffee and I don’t get hitting tips. Maybe that’s the best thing,” Davis said Monday morning, before the Pirates opened a three-game series against the Mets. “… I don’t have to think about my stance at 9 in the morning.”

Davis suggested the 24/7 microscope, as epitomized by getting batting tips from fans as he bought coffee in the city, was not overwhelming.

Adam Rubin

Ike Davis addresses the media pregame Monday upon returning to Citi Field as a visitor.

“More annoying and a nuisance,” said Davis, who was traded to Pittsburgh on April 18 for reliever Triple-A reliever Zack Thornton and a player to be named. “When you’re done with the game, you kind of just want to be done with the game and not think about it for the two hours of your life that you’re not at the field.

“I mean, I wouldn’t say that’s the reason I did bad, though. I actually had some good times here. I actually played well, except I couldn’t find my swing earlier in seasons and it kind of steamrolled on me. But once I did I played pretty well. It just took me longer than I should have.”

Davis is hitting .303 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 99 at-bats since the trade. Lucas Duda, meanwhile, is hitting .208 with two homers and 11 RBIs since April 18.

Davis said there have not been major technical adjustments. He worked on not bending his leg as much, but that was initiated by him.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who played parts of three seasons with the Mets in the 1980s, agreed the less-intense scrutiny in Pittsburgh can be beneficial to a player.

“I played in Cincinnati. I played in Kansas City. That definitely can be part of it,” Hurdle said. “It’s media light. The players don’t have the media challenges you have in L.A. and in New York. There’s not that level of competition for a story or an angle.”

Said Davis: “I found my swing a little earlier this year. Who knows if it’s going to last the whole year? But I’m going to keep working on it. Usually when I somewhat click I usually stay pretty well. And I just clicked a little earlier.”

Davis believes the greeting from Mets fans will be “a lot of boos,” but he may be mistaken.

He said he actually will enjoy the return since it is his first experience playing against a former team.

“It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be interesting,” Davis said. “I’ve never done it. I like doing stuff that’s new.”

Still, he insisted he has nothing to prove this series.

“Just because it’s the Mets I don’t want to hit it 800 feet,” Davis said.

He concluded about the trade: "It’s been positive, for sure. The fans wanted a new beginning at first base here. And Duda is a good player. It’s been positive for both of us -- him obviously getting to play the majority of the time and the same for me.”