NEW YORK -- Ike Davis has not fallen out of the Mets' lineup entirely, but he is now a few clicks closer to that fate. Manager Terry Collins dropped Davis to the seventh hole Wednesday, a position he has not manned since the opening weeks of his rookie season.
With Davis mired in a 1-for-19 funk dating back to April 18, Collins pointed to Marlins starter Mark Buehrle's strong numbers against left-handed hitters as a primary reason for the switch. But a day after lifting his first baseman for a pinch-hitter in a critical spot against the Marlins, Collins also allowed that Davis has not found any sort of rhythm at the plate.
"Down the road, Ike Davis is going to be a huge bat in the middle of our lineup," Collins said. "But I think the message has been sent. It's about the team as a whole."
Saying after Tuesday's game that "I'm not in a position to argue right now," Davis did not grumble publicly about the drop after batting cleanup in 13 of his first 16 starts this season. The first baseman entered Wednesday's play with 21 strikeouts -- nine of them looking -- in 51 at-bats this season, the driving factors behind his .131 average and .185 on-base percentage.
He had appeared to put aside his season-opening 2-for-28 slump when he homered three times in four games last week, but he has since hit safely just once in 19 at-bats.
Mets awaiting medical opinion on Pelfrey
NEW YORK -- By his own estimate, Mike Pelfrey asked Mets trainer Ray Ramirez a dozen times Wednesday if he had any update on his MRI results. Nothing yet, Ramirez told him on each occasion. Wait until tomorrow.
A clearer picture will not come until Thursday, when the Mets receive a second opinion on Pelfrey's injured right elbow from Dr. James Andrews. What Andrews tells the Mets could determine whether Pelfrey ultimately rehabs, receives an injection to reduce the inflammation, or undergoes season-ending surgery.
"Once we get the full diagnosis, we'll have a better idea of what it is and be able to go from there," Pelfrey said late Wednesday night. "I don't want to elaborate because I don't really know anything."
The fear is that Pelfrey has suffered a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament, which could require surgery depending on the size of the tear. Though Pelfrey was upbeat after the Mets placed him on the disabled list Tuesday with elbow inflammation, citing his mid-90s velocity in his last outing, the Mets are not as convinced of his health.
"I'm really cautious right now," manager Terry Collins said.
Regardless of his ultimate diagnosis, Pelfrey will miss at least two starts, and likely more than that. General manager Sandy Alderson estimated Tuesday that the most conservative course of action -- rehab, not surgery -- could sideline Pelfrey for a full month, with other options spanning longer time frames.
Though Collins indicated that Pelfrey could potentially pitch through a small ligament tear -- "you're talking about a big, strong man," the manager said -- the Mets are unlikely to gamble on a key member of their rotation.
With Pelfrey's next turn in the rotation due up Friday, the Mets will almost certainly call up Chris Schwinden from Triple-A Buffalo to replace him.
Sporting a 2.05 ERA in four starts with Buffalo, Schwinden has given up two runs over his last two outings, a span of 13 innings.
Nieuwenhuis to play left, keeping bat in lineup
NEW YORK -- Next up in left field for the Mets: Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
The Mets plan to ask Nieuwenhuis to man left regularly once Andres Torres returns from the disabled list, potentially keeping the rookie in the lineup almost every day. Nieuwenhuis had recently claimed sole possession of the center-field job, with Scott Hairston's platoon bat needed to sub for the injured Jason Bay in left. But with Torres due back Monday, the Mets will look to give Nieuwenhuis at-bats both in left and center field.
"Obviously, when Andres is back, I'll talk to Kirk about having to move over to the corners," manager Terry Collins said. "Plus, I'm sure we're going to be in a situation where we've got to keep our eye on Andres."
More specifically, Collins is wary of using Torres every day upon his return, given the center fielder's history of lingering injuries. So until Bay returns from the disabled list, Nieuwenhuis should receive regular opportunities between both left and center.
Collins has also said he will give natural infielder Jordany Valdespin reps in left, though not likely at the expense of Nieuwenhuis. Neither rookie has ever played left field in a professional game.
"I think you've got to figure out some way to keep his bat in the lineup as best you can," Collins said. "When Ike starts swinging the bat like he's capable of, and we get Jason back, we'll have some decisions to make. But right now, I want that offense in the lineup."
Mets sign infielder Emaus to Minors deal
NEW YORK -- The Mets have signed infielder Brad Emaus, their starting second baseman to begin last season, to a Minor League deal.
Reporting to camp last year as a Rule-5 Draft pick from the Blue Jays, Emaus won the second-base job over a group of competitors, including Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner and others. But after Emaus hit just .162 over his first 14 games, the Mets returned him to the Blue Jays, who later shipped him to the Rockies.
Emaus, 26, had signed on with the independent Laredo Lemurs before rejoining the Mets. He will report to Triple-A Buffalo.
The Mets have also signed outfielder Fred Lewis, 31, to a Minor League contract and assigned him to Buffalo. Lewis hit .230 in 81 games for the Reds last season.