NEW YORK -- Johan Santana is the Mets' nominee for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday. The annual award recognizes an MLB player "who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement."
Through his foundation, Santana funds programs that focus on education and healthcare in New York and his hometown of Tovar, Venezuela. The Johan Santana Foundation distributes more than 40,000 toys to children in Tovar during the annual celebration of El Cyonzao, and is building a baseball complex for the community to enjoy. It recently also donated $10,000 to the non-profit organization Tuesday's Children to launch a new program for Spanish-speaking members of the Sept. 11 community.
The last Mets player to win the Clemente Award was Carlos Delgado in 2006. MLB is encouraging fans to help select the national award recipient by visiting MLB.com/ClementeAward and voting for one of the nominees. Participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2012 World Series, where the award's national winner will be announced.
Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 14, with the winner of the fan poll receiving one vote among those cast by a selection panel.
Ike denies ESPN report about his nightlife habits
NEW YORK -- Mets first baseman Ike Davis and manager Terry Collins dismissed a report Tuesday about Davis' nightlife habits as categorically untrue.
Saying that he was "falsely accused," Davis shrugged off an ESPN New York report that the Mets are considering trading their former first-round Draft pick partially over concern that "he is out too late after games, and that could influence other young players."
"I don't really have an answer to that because it's never been an issue," Davis said. "I've never done anything wrong. I show up to the field ready to play every day. I really don't even know where it's coming from, and it's not really true."
The report stemmed from recent rumors that the Mets could look to shop Davis this winter, which would allow them to install Lucas Duda at his natural position of first base. Though Davis has drastically improved his numbers after a stagnant start to the season, and now has a career-high 27 home runs and 81 RBIs, he is still batting just .223 with a .302 on-base percentage.
The ESPN report also included an accusation that Davis is resistant to coaching advice, which both he and Collins dismissed as false.
"There's not a coach in that office -- there's not the manager, the front office -- that has ever brought up a problem with Ike Davis," Collins said.
"I just want to make sure everyone understands we're behind Ike Davis 100 percent. I don't want this to ever be a defamation on his character. He's a standup guy. As a matter of fact, he speaks the truth above and beyond the need for it."
It has been a trying year and a half for Davis, whose career path took a sharp turn when he sustained a bone bruise in his left ankle last May. Though the ankle healed, Davis missed time this spring when doctors diagnosed him with a possible case of Valley Fever. Then he stumbled out to his worst start as a professional, batting .158 with five home runs over his first 56 games of the season.
Those numbers have masked the fact that only six players in baseball have hit more home runs than Davis since June 9, and only 12 have recorded a higher slugging percentage. Davis said he was surprised that accusations did not come earlier in the season, when he was not hitting so well.
"I don't know if it's a cheap shot," he said. "I'm falsely accused, I guess. It comes out of nowhere and it happens to athletes like this -- a rumor or something said and it's blown out of proportion. You can't really do anything about it."
The upshot is that Tuesday's report, whether true or false, could stain his reputation going forward. But Davis insisted he will not worry about that.
"What can I do?" he said. "We live in the public eye, and one little thing can turn into this. It's unfortunate, but I can't do anything about it. It's in the paper and people are going to believe what they want, but I know what's true."