NEW YORK -- Memorial Day has extra meaning for Mets closer Bobby Parnell. With a best friend currently serving in the Marine Corps, Parnell appreciated the opportunity to wear a special uniform honoring the military on Monday night.
"I think it's awesome," Parnell said. "I think it's a good tribute to the men and women who serve this country. I think it's fun to do. It's a good gesture."
Along with the rest of Major League Baseball, the Mets are wearing caps and jerseys with an authentic military digital camouflage design, which is licensed from the United States Marine Corps. Major League Baseball will donate all of the proceeds from the sale of the caps and jerseys to Welcome Back Veterans.
"I think they look good," Parnell said. "I think it's a good blend. I'll be honored to wear it."
Monday's event continues the Mets' weekend of honoring the servicemen and women around the world. New York held its sixth annual Military Appreciation Night on Sunday in conjunction with the USO of Metropolitan New York. About 5,000 military personnel and their families attended Sunday night's game against the Braves with tickets donated by the Mets.
Before Monday's game, lieutenant JG Yvonne Zirrith of the United States Navy sang the national anthem. And Joey Falcone, a sophomore baseball player at Columbia and USMC veteran, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Falcone is the son of former Mets pitcher Pete Falcone. Joey Falcone served as a Marine Corps medic from 2004-10, and completed two tours of duty in Iraq in 2007 and '08. He also spent a tour in Afghanistan in '09.
Pete Falcone caught the first pitch from his son on Monday night.
Collins impressed with Ike's overall approach Sunday
NEW YORK -- It was one hit, well-placed on its path through the right side of the infield. But Mets manager Terry Collins believes Ike Davis' game-winning single Sunday night was the product of something even more significant.
"The one at-bat was huge, but the four at-bats were what was impressive -- much quieter in the batter's box, head a lot less movement than he's had in weeks, I think a whole different approach as far as body language," Collins said. "He just was relaxed for some reason."
Finishing 2-for-3 against the Braves with a walk, Davis put into practice many of the tweaks he has worked on with hitting coach Dave Hudgens, who preaches a quiet approach in the batter's box for most players. Davis entered Monday's play 3-for-5 with one walk and one strikeout in his last six plate appearances -- a small sample, to be sure, but more than enough to energize the Mets.
"I just thought his whole approach was better," Collins said. "Certainly if there's a time that anybody needed to get a hit last night, it was him."
For Monday's Subway Series opener against the Yankees, Davis returned to the seventh spot in the lineup, where he has hit for most of the last week. He should be there again on Tuesday and Wednesday, before likely sitting against left-hander Vidal Nuno in Thursday's series finale.
How he fares will go a long way toward either quieting or intensifying talk of a Minor League demotion.
"It was a good start," Davis said. "I've got a long way to go. But it definitely felt good to help the team."
Harvey gearing up for first Subway Series start
NEW YORK -- All it took was a stroll down the street for Matt Harvey to receive his first injection of Subway Series energy, when a fan called out for him to "beat the Yankees."
"That's always fun," Harvey said. "It definitely keeps you going. It keeps the drive strong."
The drive is still plenty strong for Harvey, whose 11th start will come Tuesday against the team he once rooted for. Growing up a Yankees fan in Connecticut, Harvey estimates he made half a dozen trips down to New York City to watch Subway Series games in person -- mostly with his father, and mostly at Shea Stadium, where he admits he preferred the atmosphere.
Harvey's childhood love of the Yankees has been well-documented -- particularly his idolization of outfielder Paul O'Neill, whose fiery on-field demeanor compares favorably to his own. But as a Met, Harvey has long since forgotten that part of his past.
"I'm happy to be in the big leagues, no matter where it is," he said. "I'm happy to be in New York, no matter which team it is. The past is the past, but I'm a New York Mets fan."
To prepare for the Subway Series, Harvey said he planned to sit in the dugout and soak in Monday's atmosphere, before gearing up for Tuesday's assignment. Harvey has admitted in the past to a bit of extra anticipation leading up to premier matchups against Stephen Strasburg and Roy Halladay, and understands that Tuesday's start will be his most significant to date.
"I dreamed of being involved in it," Harvey said. "Now being part of it is definitely a dream come true."
Mets place Tejada back in the leadoff spot
NEW YORK -- The Mets are putting their trust in Ruben Tejada. By returning the shortstop to the leadoff spot for their game against the Yankees on Monday night, the Mets are depending on Tejada to get back to squaring up the baseball and hitting line drives like he used to.
Tejada, who was batting only .218 entering Monday's game, had been hitting too many balls in the air, so the Mets moved him down in the order. They wanted Tejada to get back to battling the pitcher to go deep into counts, but most of all, to work on not getting underneath the baseball to reduce his fly-ball rate.
Manager Terry Collins said the Mets' lineup is best with Tejada at the top of the order, but that's as long as he returns to being the type of hitter he used to be.
"We've kind of looked at some different things, and as we move forward, he's got to be the guy that leads off for us," Collins said. "Ruben's just going to have to step up, work hard on getting on base and getting back to hitting line drives."
While Tejada sorted through his struggles, the Mets slotted second baseman Daniel Murphy at leadoff. But Collins said that was more out of necessity than anything else, and that Murphy "didn't necessarily care for it." Murphy entered Monday with a .337 on-base percentage, while Tejada's was .280. Tejada finished up last season -- when he was the Mets' primary leadoff hitter -- with a .333 on-base percentage.
Collins said Tejada's swing is fine, and that he just needs to keep his weight back a little longer so he's not getting out in front on pitches. By putting Tejada back at the top of the lineup, the Mets are hoping he forces himself to do that.
"Our best lineup is with Ruben at the top of the order," said Collins.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.