Hitting coach Chili Davis will not be at Citi Field when the New York Mets resume their preseason workouts on Friday.
Manager Luis Rojas confirmed that Davis, 60, who signed a two-year deal with the Mets to come back as the team's hitting coach last winter, will not be attending workouts in person, and his presence during regular season games this abbreviated 2020 season is also questionable.
"Chili will be working remotely with us," Rojas said in a videoconference call Thursday afternoon. "He'll be helping out the players; helping out the coaching staff. He won't be (with us) at the start of camp. The timing for him to join us is uncertain, but he will be working remotely."
Rojas stated that every other Mets coach and every player in their 60-man pool has reported to camp and initiated the intake protocols and COVID-19 testing process. The Mets will resume their "spring training" workouts Friday at Citi Field in Flushing.
"I think we're gonna get the best of Chili, whether he's with us as the start of camp or whether he's working remotely," Rojas said. "We're in constant communication. Chili and I practically talk every day. He's in communication with the rest of the coaches like (assistant hitting coach) Tom Slater. (Hitting coordinator) Ryan Ellis is going to be filling in for him; he's going to be assisting Slater."
Last year was Davis' first season with the club, and he had immediate impact. The Mets had a .257 batting average as a team, which tied them for 10th overall -- with the defending NL champion Dodgers.
Davis was the Oakland Athletics' hitting coach in 2012-14 before serving in the same role in Boston (2015-17). The Chicago Cubs then hired him under manager Joe Maddon, where he lasted just one season.
"Chili is going to be helping us," Rojas explained. "He's a great asset. He's got great knowledge, great experience. He helps the players with the hitting, with playing the game. He helps the coaches as well with his view of the game. He's going to add all that experience and repertoire that he can bring to the table."
Rojas also discussed the challenges of playing a 60-game season with the extensive health and safety protocols that will be required.
"It's challenging times," he said. "We started living this in baseball since March, and we are educating ourselves, we are educating the players and we're in constant communication. We're very optimistic that we're going to come into camp, finish the intake process, go through camp, get into the season, and finish it. We know it's challenging. We have an uncertain future. We've seen it in the last few months, it's just tough to predict some things, but we're definitely getting prepared to go ahead and face it."