Mets use loophole to end appeal game against Diamondbacks


Buck Showalter gave JD Davis a thumbs-up Sunday for making a heads-up play that the Mets missed in spring training.

The Diamondbacks wanted to appeal whether Dominic Smith left third base early on a sacrificial fly in the sixth inning of the Mets’ 5-0 win at Citi Field. Davis was at first base and starting for second when Oliver Perez, an Arizona relic, got off the rubber and mistook the former Mets left-hander for his stealing of second to negate the appeal play at third.

“We talked about that in the spring. We go through a few rules every day,” Showalter said after the game. “We couldn’t get the call in time to make sure we hadn’t left earlier. So it’s something we talked about. I gave the sign [third-base coach] Joey [Cora]and we started from first base so we can get the run. I’ll trade the out for the run every time.

Typically, the appeal was denied as Perez made moves toward second base, but the 21-year veteran’s indecisiveness and subsequent throw to third allowed Davis to safely swipe the bag.

“One of the best and one of the easiest [stolen bases] ever,” Davis said, adding that he was first alerted from the dugout by backup catcher Tomas Nido. “Buck takes great pride in his players knowing the rules and one of the loopholes in that rule. We talked about it in spring training when the opportunity arose. If there was an appeal process and a man at first base, he would take off earlier to distract the pitcher from pursuing the appeal.

“Right when [Perez] came seated and got out, I took off. And sure enough, he took the bait. We canceled the roll call and continued walking. … That’s all Buck right there.”

Injured starter Taijuan Walker (shoulder) threw a bullpen session before the game, and he’ll likely have “more than one” rehab start before he’s taken off the injured list, Showalter said. Walker will first report to extended spring training for a “controlled environment” start in Port St. Lucie to “pump up his volume” before hitting a singles in a minor league game for either St. Lucie or Brooklyn. A-Start lies down.

With outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Mark Canha sidelined since Friday after testing positive for COVID-19, Travis Jankowski started his third straight game in midfield.

“I thought to myself today when I walked in how lucky we were that we signed him and got him into the herd,” Showalter said of the Stony Brook grad. “I’ve been thinking about where we would be now without him. We would have a lot more music chairs.” Mets use loophole to end appeal game against Diamondbacks


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