06/12/10 7:47 PM ET
Mets request release waivers on Matthews
By Pete Kerzel / Special to MLB.com
Matthews hit .190 with one RBI in 36 games with the Mets. He was acquired from the Angels on Jan. 22 with cash in exchange for reliever Brian Stokes.
The June 4 move gave the Mets 10 days to waive, trade or release Matthews. Release waivers, which can only be requested during the first 10 days of the DFA period, will expire on Tuesday.
Davis pleased with progress but not satisfied
BALTIMORE -- A 10-for-37 start to June has Ike Davis' batting average at .270, decent enough for most rookies but not satisfactory for the Mets' first baseman.
"I'm not really back on a roll per se, yet," said Davis, whose average had dipped to a season-low .248 on June 4, a day before his first career four-hit game. "I guess my at-bats are getting a little better, but still not where I want them to be. I'm working every day."
Whereas other players might be locked down in monotonous video-review sessions, Davis prefers to do his work in the batter's box. And he isn't really worrying about the cat-and-mouse game of pitchers making adjustments to hitters and vice versa.
"That's too much thinking right there," he said. "I need to do a better job of just going up there and seeing it and hitting it. When you start thinking is when you start getting in trouble. [If you] keep the approach simple, then [pitchers] can't get you caught in the mind games."
Davis sounds like a Boy Scout when he employs "Be Prepared" as his approach to hitting.
"I just like to see what pitches they have and what the movement on them is. So when I do get to the strike zone, I know what they're going to do. It's just 'see the ball, hit the ball.' "
Wright called on to DH, Tatis starts at third
BALTIMORE -- Mets manager Jerry Manuel kept his word, using third baseman David Wright as his designated hitter in Saturday's game against the Orioles and giving Fernando Tatis a rare start at third base.
"[He] didn't mind either way," Manuel said when asked if he had to convince Wright to take a day off from the field. "[Third-base coach Chip Hale] thought it would also be good to get him off his feet for one game, almost like a day off. ... At least this way, it kind of keeps him fresh."
The move also keeps Wright, who has driven in a team-high 42 runs and is hitting .462 over his past 11 games, in the lineup.
"He's hitting the ball well right now," Manuel said. "Sometimes, guys, when they're swinging the bat well, they like to continue to play defense because ... they're in the rhythm and the flow of the game. When they're DHing, sometimes for different guys, it feels like a pinch-hit and they don't respond well."
Wright does not consider DH duty to be much of a breather.
"I definitely wouldn't consider it a day off," Wright said. "Days off are when mentally you're off [and] physically you're off."
At least keeping his spot in the batting order will prevent Wright from going stir crazy on the bench.
"I enjoy the game, so it's nice to watch the game from a different perspective and still try to learn something," he said. "You have to stay in the game just for the fact that you're ... a part of the game, even if it's only on offense."
Tatis has been used sparingly this season, partially because the Mets have been playing well and partially because of Wright's consistency, rookie Ike Davis' emergence at first base and the arrival of left fielder Jason Bay. Tatis has started once at third and seven times at first this year, but has yet to start in the outfield in 2010.
"The main thing for [Tatis] is to get the plate appearances," said Manuel. "We haven't had that much of a chance to get him out there. Last year, we played him in the outfield and first base, and now we're pretty covered in that area. Last year, we played [Tatis] against the lefties all the time, but Ike seems to hit the left-handers well. Tatis hasn't been getting those reps, so it'll be good to get him those reps."
Tatis is hitting .213 with two homers and six RBIs in 47 at-bats, but 14 of those have come as a pinch-hitter. He's been effective in that role, going 6-for-14 (.429) with a homer and three RBIs.
Mets play close attention to U.S.-England
BALTIMORE -- Talk about your authentic wrapped-in-the-flag patriotism: Mets left-hander Jon Niese watched Saturday's opening-round World Cup soccer match between the U.S. and England with his shoulders enveloped in a full-size American flag.
"It was a good game. I think we got kind of lucky because England is a lot faster team than we are," Niese said, neatly folding the flag and placing it in his locker following the 1-1 tie between the upstart Americans and favored Brits. "But I'll take the tie."
Most of the Mets crammed into the players' lounge in the visitors' clubhouse at Camden Yards to watch the match, which ended about 20 minutes before they were scheduled for their pregame stretching. Niese wore the flag tied around his neck, much like a superhero might don a cape.
Three of the five flat-screen televisions in the clubhouse were tuned to the U.S.-England match, with the others blaring World Series highlights on MLB Network and the College World Series game between Texas and TCU. But the presence of the Stars and Stripes throughout the clubhouse left little doubt about rooting interests.
A huge American flag was taped to the concrete wall separating the showers from the clubhouse and another large flag hung along a bank of locker stalls on one side of the room. Smaller flags were present in the side-by-side lockers of Alex Cora and David Wright, who hung a white U.S. jersey in front of his stall.
From the players' lounge, "oohs" and "aahs" accompanied each U.S. scoring chance, and groans were usually heard when those opportunities didn't produce a goal.
Not everybody, however, was interested in the game -- or the outcome. Closer Francisco Rodriguez sat in a corner of the clubhouse listening to music through earphones, utility man Fernando Tatis had his laptop fired up and was immersed in the Internet and Mike Peters, reliever Ryota Igarashi's translator, had a jersey for the Japanese entry in the quadrennial tournament hanging at his locker.
Pete Kerzel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.