New York Mets: Chili Davis talks ‘tough’ coaching challenge, team’s offense

New York Mets, Chili Davis
USA Today

New York Mets hitting coach Chili Davis, 60, has been working remotely during the team’s summer camp due to health risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Davis told reporters on Wednesday that being remote is “tough” (quotes per Mike Puma of the New York Post).

“It’s just really tough to do because I’m used to being around those guys and I’m used to being hands on with them, in contact with them all the time,” Davis said Wednesday. “I know a lot of things are real different there right now as far as how much contact you can make with players. It’s not easy. It’s kind of boring sitting here not doing what I signed up to do. It’s not easy at all.”

Davis said there’s “nothing in this world” that would make him think outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who’s expected to play in his first regular-season game in roughly two years, couldn’t find success this season.

“There is nothing in this world that I would ever believe that Cespedes cannot do on a baseball field,” Davis said. “He’s proven that to me already. He’s a very determined young man. He’s a very proud young man, so I think when he makes up his mind that he’s going to go out to the world and prove what he can do, he’s going to definitely do that. I just hope he stays healthy. If he stays healthy he is going to be a huge benefit to that ballclub.”

Davis feels shortstop Amed Rosario can be a catalyst for the Mets offense.

“If Rosie is hitting ninth, he is a guy that starts that whole lineup again at the back of the lineup,” Davis said. “If he’s on base, now you have Nimmo or [McNeil] or somebody coming up after him. I think they are three good quality leadoff hitters.The obvious choice I think will probably end up being Nimmo or Mac [at leadoff] because of the success they have had.”

Davis had a conversation with first baseman Pete Alonso where he expressed to the 2019 National League Rookie of the Year that he has to keep his approach “as simple as possible.”

“Petey and I had a conversation [Monday], just reminding him the guy who hit 53 home runs last year wasn’t just the guy who finished the year, the second half,” Davis said. “The guy that hit 53 home runs last year was the guy that started from spring training to the All-Star break. I thought he had a few more ups and downs in the second half than in the first half.”

“The one thing we talk about mostly is this year, especially, you can’t match in a 60-game season those numbers you put up last year,” Davis said. “You have got to keep the approach as simple as possible.”

“The second thing I wanted him to understand: ‘Don’t put in your mind that pitchers aren’t going to pitch to you.’ They are.”

The New York Mets open the 2020 season at home against the Atlanta Braves on Friday.

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