TUCSON PADRES

He likes Ike: Murphy says ex-Devil will bounce back

2013-06-19T00:00:00Z He likes Ike: Murphy says ex-Devil will bounce backDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star   Arizona Daily Star
June 19, 2013 12:00 am  • 

For three years, Pat Murphy called on Ike Davis to do pretty much everything.

The first baseman/outfielder/pitcher was one of the very best to ever play for Murphy at Arizona State. He never hit worse than .329 in a season, homered 33 times over three seasons and logged more than 70 career innings as a pitcher.

And that's not all Davis did for his college coach.

"He'd come over and him and his girl would baby-sit my son Kai," said Murphy, now the manager of the Tucson Padres. "I think he wanted to impress his girl. Kai was really baby-sitting him. But I only let the guys I really trusted do that."

Davis and his former skipper reunited Tuesday night at Kino Stadium in a situation that seemed unfathomable a season ago.

The Scottsdale native hit 32 home runs and had 90 RBIs in 156 games for the New York Mets last year as a 25-year-old playing in his second full season in the big leagues. Granted, his .227 batting average was a bit low, but it didn't seem like a stretch to predict stardom for the former Sun Devil.

Instead, his career went the other way this season. After 55 games with the Mets in which he hit .161 with five home runs and 16 RBIs, Davis was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas earlier this month.

Tuesday marked his eighth game with the 51s, and he went 1 for 3 with an RBI in the team's 5-2 loss to Tucson.

"I just have to keep working and try to make it back. I'm in the same boat as everybody here," Davis said. "It's definitely a different experience playing in the big leagues to here. You have to find a way to get yourself up for games because there isn't a lot of adrenaline from the crowd like there is in the big leagues. But, the team is great, and it's just a different type of baseball and you just have to adjust."

Davis and Murphy chatted for several minutes on the field during batting practice on Tuesday and remain close even though Davis' final season in Tempe was 2008.

Ask Murphy and he'll tell you it's just a matter of time before Davis is back to his 2011 form.

"It's a blip on the screen," Murphy said. "Ike has never really struggled in his life. He never struggled in college. He was great the day he walked in. Whatever it was to be learned, he learned it right away and then he shot right to the big leagues once he got in the minors. This is his first blip.

"It can be devastating, but don't underestimate Ike."

That's certainly a lesson the Arizona Wildcats and the rest of the NCAA learned while Davis was at ASU. In his final game against the UA in 2008, Davis slugged a grand slam at Kindall/Sancet Stadium and did plenty of damage against the Wildcats in his three seasons.

"We have two great schools in Arizona in ASU and UA, and it just so happens I was born closer to ASU, and with their tradition, it was an easy decision for me to go there," Davis said. "I had a lot of friends on the UA team. ...

"It was fun to try to beat each other."

Inside pitch

• The San Diego Padres signed major league veteran Ben Francisco to a minor league contract on Tuesday and assigned him to Tucson.

Up next

• Who: Las Vegas

• When: 7:05 p.m.

• Radio: 1290-AM

¡Tus Padres!

Tucson 5, Las Vegas 2

• Highlight: Dean Anna broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh with a two-run triple. Reliever Kevin Quackenbush earned the win in his Triple-A debut.

• Big number: 7: With two more hits Tuesday, Brandon Allen is 7 for 12 over his last three games with four runs and five RBIs.

• Tonight's starters: RHP Sean O'Sullivan (6-3, 3.70 ERA) vs. Matt Fox (1-2, 5.63 ERA)

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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