Mets backup shows why he is a ‘dangerous weapon to have’


JUPITER, Fla. — J.D. Davis’ usefulness to the Mets this season could be largely dependent upon his ability to produce off the bench. In that regard, he passed a test of sorts Thursday.

Davis’ RBI double in the eighth — after he entered the game as a defensive replacement the previous inning — gave the Mets their only run in a 1-1 tie with the Cardinals.

“[Davis] is a dangerous weapon to have,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “That is one of the reasons, when we put him in the game we wanted him to hit third that inning. We kind of shuffled things around so he could hit third and he ended up driving in a run for us.”

The 25-year-old Davis, a corner infielder who arrived in an offseason trade with the Astros, is battling for a spot on the Opening Day roster because Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier appear unlikely to be ready because of injuries. Davis is 12-for-41 (.293) in Grapefruit League play with a homer and eight RBIs.

“He’s swinging the bat well,” Callaway said. “He is playing great defense from what I see and I am glad we traded for him.”


Callaway doesn’t yet have a strong opinion on the “three-batter” rule that will be implemented for 2020. Starting next season, relievers will have to face at least three batters unless they are summoned and finish an inning.

“The three-batter rule is an interesting one,” Callaway said. “I think we’ll see when they implement it how we are going to deal with it. I don’t have an opinion on it. The thing that I know is it’s not being implemented this year so I am not so worried about it.”


Justin Wilson allowed one run in the seventh inning and has been scored upon in four of his five appearances (10.80 ERA), but Callaway said it’s not a concern.

“He’s right where he needs to be stuff-wise,” Callaway said.


Edwin Diaz hasn’t appeared since Sunday as pitching coach Dave Eiland looks to lessen the closer’s workload. But the right-hander is expected to pitch Friday against the Nationals.

“This is the plan,” Callaway said. “[Diaz] has been in a very good spot when he’s been out there pitching and he’s looked great, so Dave doesn’t want to overwork him and still get him enough innings where he is ready for the season.”


Jeff McNeil went 3-for-4 in the Mets’ 1-1 tie with the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla. McNeil, who batted leadoff, is hitting .321 this spring.


Luis Guillorme was out by the proverbial country mile trying to steal second base against St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina in the fourth inning.


Zack Wheeler became the first Mets pitcher to hit this spring, going 0-for-2 with two groundouts.


Friday’s schedule: Steven Matz is scheduled to face the Nationals in Port St. Lucie. The left-hander will be making his fourth start of the exhibition season.