NEW YORK -- On April 19, 2010, the Ike Davis era began with great expectations and greater fanfare when he collected two hits and absorbed a celebratory postgame shaving cream pie to the face after leading the then-reeling Mets to a rollicking win over the Chicago Cubs.
One day shy of four years later, the Davis era ended in unceremonious and foreboding fashion symbolic of his largely unfulfilling tenure in Queens.
The Mets, who began the season with three first basemen on the roster in Davis, Lucas Duda and Josh Satin, finally cleared their logjam at the position minutes before the first pitch of Friday's game against the Braves by dealing Davis to Pittsburgh for minor league pitcher Zack Thornton and a player to be named later.
As the game began outside, the Mets organized a hastily held press conference for Davis, who, in another symbolic moment, exited the home clubhouse for the final time and initially turned to his right -- toward the field -- instead of left, where he met with reporters for five minutes.
"You can't play a major league season with three first basemen," said Davis, dressed in a long sleeve gray T-shirt and gray sweatpants. "One of us had to go. And it looked like it was going to be me for almost eight months now."
Such an exit for Davis seemed inconceivable when he hit .264 with 19 homers and 71 RBIs in 2010 and opened 2011 by hitting .302 with seven homers and 25 RBIs in his first 129 at-bats. But Davis suffered a season-ending left ankle injury on May 10 and then contracted Valley Fever the following winter.
Whether because of the injury, the illness or some combination thereof, Davis was never close to the same player. He had 32 homers and 90 RBIs in 2012, albeit with a .227 batting average. He hit just .205 with nine homers and 33 RBIs in 317 at-bats last season, when he spent almost a month at Triple-A Las Vegas before missing the final month of the season with an oblique injury.
Trade rumors swirled around Davis all winter and he was relegated to the bench for most of the first two-plus weeks, though he did hit a walk-off, pinch-hit grand slam to lead the Mets to a 6-3 win over Cincinnati on April 5.
General manager Sandy Alderson, who met with reporters after the second inning Friday, acknowledged the Mets had been trying to trade Davis for months, though he also offered a bit of accidental insight into the Mets' often-bizarre and inconsistent thought process when he listed the merits of both Davis and Duda, the new starter.
"It was a close call," Alderson said. "This wasn't something that was so clear-cut. If it had been, this might have been resolved months ago."
It will take months to determine if the Mets made the right choice, but the early returns weren't promising Friday, when third baseman David Wright delivered the Mets' only hit with an eighth-inning single in their 6-0 loss.
The Mets likely never would have been in a position to get no-hit if not for a baserunning mistake by Duda in the second inning. Duda drew a two-out walk before catcher Travis d'Arnaud hit a slow roller to second. d'Arnaud was originally called out, but replays showed he beat the throw by a split second.
Unfortunately for the Mets, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman fired across the diamond to third baseman Chris Johnson, who tagged Duda as he trotted into third. With that out superseding the d'Arnaud hit, Mets manager Terry Collins decided not to use his challenge.
There's no guarantee, of course, that Davis would have changed the Mets' fate on Friday night. But still, the loss -- and Duda's role in it -- was a bad omen for a team looking to snap a seven-season run of misfortune.
"I think we simply had to make a choice," Alderson said of the trade. "At this point, it seemed to be the right time."
The right time to end an era that started so promisingly but ended up going so wrong.
STREAK: Lost one
NEXT: Braves (RHP Ervin Santana, 1-0, 0.64 ERA) at Mets (RHP Bartolo Colon, 1-2, 6.00 ERA)
--RHP Bartolo Colon will look to bounce back from his worst start as a member of the Mets when he takes the mound Saturday night in the middle game of a three-game series at Citi Field. Colon gave up nine runs on 11 hits, including four homers, last Sunday and took the loss as the Mets fell to the Angels, 14-2. Colon admitted afterward he was suffering from back spasms prior to the start, but he threw during Thursday's off-day and reported no ill effects. He will be looking to maintain his perfect record against the Braves. Colon is 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA in four career starts against the Braves and earned the win on Apr. 8, when he tossed seven shutout innings in the Mets' 4-0 victory.
--OF Chris Young was activated off the 15-day disabled list on Friday, when he went 0-for-4 in the Mets' 6-0 loss to the Braves. Young suffered a right groin injury during the final weekend of the exhibition season and played just one inning -- the top of the first inning against the Nationals on April 2 -- before heading to the disabled list. But he only required the minimum stay and hit .667 (8-of-12) in three rehab games at Triple-A Las Vegas.
--1B Ike Davis' roller-coaster career in New York ended Friday, when the Mets traded him to Pittsburgh in exchange for minor league RHP Zack Thornton and a player to be named later. Davis hit .271 with 26 homers and 96 RBIs in his first 169 big league games in 2010-11 but had hit just .219 with 42 homers and 128 RBIs in 271 games since. He lost the first-base job to Lucas Duda earlier this season and was hitting .208 with one homer and five RBIs in 24 at-bats.
--RHP Zack Thornton was acquired by the Mets from Pittsburgh on Friday in exchange for 1B Ike Davis. Mets GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets have long been interested in Thornton, whom they thought about claiming in last winter's Rule 5 draft. Thornton is 20-9 with 26 saves and 285 strikeouts in 252 1/3 innings over five professional seasons and was 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA and eight strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings over four games this season for the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I thought he pitched very, very well. We certainly didn't get much going, I can tell you." -- Mets manager Terry Collins, after Braves RHP Aaron Harang threw seven no-hit innings in Atlanta's 6-0 win over the Mets.
--RF Curtis Granderson (left ribcage, left forearm and left knee contusions) left the April 14 game. X-rays were negative, but he was held out of the lineup April 15-16. He returned to the lineup April 18.
--RHP Jenrry Mejia (blister) was removed after five shutout innings April 15 when a blister tore open on the top of his right middle finger. "He's got one hell of a blister," manager Terry Collins said. "Tore it up completely. Ripped open. I would say there is a concern."
--CF Juan Lagares (right hamstring strain) was placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 15 after feeling tightness in his right leg while running out a ground ball in the seventh inning April 14.
--LF Chris Young (right quad strain) went on the 15-day disabled list April 3. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas on April 13.
--RHP Bobby Parnell (Tommy John surgery in April 2014) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 1. He will miss the entire season.
--RHP Matt Harvey (Tommy John surgery in October 2013) went on the 60-day disabled list March 30. He was throwing off flat ground in Port St. Lucie, Fla., during spring training, and he will rehab in New York during the season. He hopes to return to the majors by September, but he is more likely to remain sidelined until Opening Day 2015.
RHP Dillon Gee
LHP Jonathon Niese
RHP Bartolo Colon
RHP Zack Wheeler
RHP Jennry Mejia
RHP Jose Valverde (closer)
RHP Jeurys Familia
LHP Scott Rice
RHP Carlos Torres
RHP Daisuke Matzusaka
RHP Gonzalez Germen
RHP Kyle Farnsworth
1B Lucas Duda
2B Daniel Murphy
SS Ruben Tejada
3B David Wright
INF Josh Satin
INF Omar Quintanilla
LF Eric Young Jr.
CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis
RF Curtis Granderson
OF Chris Young
OF Andrew Brown
- Sports & Recreation
- Lucas Duda