Future Is Now: Ike Davis Wins Admirers In Mets Camp





PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.—The Mets plan to give Daniel Murphy every opportunity to succeed at first base this season. However, no one in the organization disputes that the perceived long-term solution at the position will be playing for Triple-A Buffalo.

Ike Davis, the 18th overall pick in the 2008 draft out of Arizona State and the son of former big league righthander Ron Davis, made a lasting impression on manager Jerry Manuel during big league camp.

The skipper already had watched the 23-year-old Davis in the Arizona Fall League. He saw when Davis smashed a grand slam off Tigers lefthander Andy Oliver, and also when he drove in six runs in his first AFL game.

Davis hit 20 homers last season between high Class A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton after going homerless in 215 at-bats with short-season Brooklyn in 2008.

"He's got great tools at first base, (including) soft hands. He's got quality feet. His footwork is really good," said Tim Teufel, who managed Davis with St. Lucie.

"He's the whole package at first. You don't need to teach him about the game as much. He came out of Arizona State and had put three years of college in already. He's got street smarts for the game. He knows where to throw the ball. He has a feel for the game."

Teammates also note the 6-foot-4 Davis is a big target at first base.

"He's got a hose—a real great arm," third baseman Shawn Bowman said. "He's definitely an above-average first baseman. It's always good, No. 1, to have a big target, and No. 2, to have a big target who can pick it as well."

Ron Davis played with Teufel for the Twins from 1983-85. Ike was not yet 2 years old when Ron retired, but he did join his father for old timers' games at Yankee Stadium.

"He's different than his dad," Teufel said. "Ronnie was a big talker. I don't think (Ike's) as much of a talker. I think he goes about his business. Two different birds—one was a relief pitcher; one is a first baseman. One's lefthanded; one's righthanded."

METAMORPHOSES

• The Mets released righthander Josh Fogg at his request. He did not appear in a Grapefruit League game because of a side muscle injury.

• The uncertain status of shortstop Jose Reyes, who might begin the season on the disabled list, had opened the door for 20-year-old Ruben Tejada to make the big league team.