NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins is a traditionalist, but that doesn't mean he's married to the way he thinks about the game. Collins spoke briefly about his team's reliance on relief roles on Tuesday, and he admitted that his thinking has evolved over the past few decades.
"Twenty-five years ago, I didn't think pitchers needed roles," said Collins. "The object is to get the guy out who's standing in the batter's box with the bat. That's your role. When you come in the game, get him out and let the manager worry about the other stuff. The game has evolved to be different."
Collins has seen his bullpen work to a 5.00 ERA this season, 27th in the Majors, but he doesn't want to do anything rash to make the pitchers even more uncomfortable. In short, Collins hopes that closer Frank Francisco will find his comfort zone and that all the relievers around him will follow suit.
"The game evolved to where you have the left-handed specialist," Collins said. "You have the eighth-inning guy, that bridge to the closer. You have the closer. That's what these guys are here for. That's what they get paid for. ... You have to adjust to that. You don't have to like it, but you have to accept it.
"I accept it. And that's why the one thing I don't want to do is turn our bullpen inside out even though we've had a few blown saves. Everybody has. The minute you start changing everybody's roles, it's very uncomfortable for some of the pitchers in that bullpen."
Thole waiting on clearance before returning
NEW YORK -- Josh Thole is ready to move on to the next step. Thole, who hasn't played since suffering a concussion on May 7, returned to Citi Field on Tuesday for an examination, and the catcher said that he hoped to pass an impact test and return to baseball activities in short order.
Thole, who was injured on a play at the plate in Philadelphia, said he suffered headaches and increased light sensitivity for a few days after the initial impact. Thole also said that he's been symptom-free since Friday, and he was looking forward to meeting with the team's physicians to plan out his next move.
"I couldn't really do a whole lot," said Thole of the last week. "Sunday, I started walking around a little more. Other than that, the first four days was [spent] resting, laying in my bed, sleeping a lot."
Thole has had multiple head injuries before, but he's uncertain as to how many of them actually led to a concussion. The backstop said he had an incident that led to vomiting in 2007 and another one that was more like whiplash in '08, and he also got hit in the helmet by a bat during the '10 campaign.
Thole planned on taking an impact test Tuesday, and the results of that examination would better give the doctors to make a decision on his recovery. The 25-year-old said he has no reason to believe he's more susceptible to another head injury, but he said he wants to be as careful as possible.
"It's a wait-and-see type of thing," he said. "I think the biggest thing is what's going on right now, and not only in baseball, but in other sports. It's something that you don't want to rush back into. You want to definitely build back up and you just really have to listen to what the doctors have to say."
Manager Terry Collins said that Thole will likely need at least one rehab game with a Minor League affiliate before he returns to the lineup, and Thole said he has one other change in mind. Thole said that he will switch to a hockey-style catcher's mask in the future in order to combat head injuries.
"A lot of guys wear them. I just never did," said Thole of the new mask. "I don't know why it was or why I didn't, but I think this is the final straw. It's a helmet that you're not going to take off from time to time. You're going to leave it on to catch fly balls. You're going to leave it on more times than not."
Ike knows home hitting woes won't last
NEW YORK -- Ike Davis knows his numbers, and he understands they have to improve. The Mets first baseman has been playing through an extended slump to start the season, and he'll go into Tuesday's game against Milwaukee with the lowest home batting average (.057) of any big league player.
Davis has just one hit at home since April 23, and he's been ice cold while the Mets have won 11 of their first 17 games at Citi Field. Davis, hitting .258 on the road, believes that streak will turn.
"I mean, if you just took my road numbers, I'd be doing decent this year," he said of his early-season stat line. "I haven't found a hole at home. I haven't hit a home run here. Obviously, it's going to change. I'm not going to go 0-for-the-season at home. Eventually, I'll start getting some hits here, too."
Davis has hit all five of his home runs on the road, and he said he'd have to go back to Class A Brooklyn to remember the last time he struggled this mightily. Despite his adversity, Davis said that he isn't really pressing and that he won't let himself fall into any traps he can avoid.
"Obviously, I want to play better, but it's not the frustration that's holding me back," he said. "I'm just trying to work and have good at-bats. Lately, I've felt like I've had good at-bats. I'm just not hitting the ball where I want to or as hard as I want to. ... I haven't found a hole yet this year."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.