May 25, 2012; Flushing, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Mike Baxter (23) is congratulated by right fielder Lucas Duda (21) after scoring against the San Diego Padres during the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Mets Injury Updates: Mike Baxter to Start Rehab Assignment

There was some good news coming out of Florida yesteday, as Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported that Mike Baxter will begin a rehab assignment today with Class-A Port St. Lucie. This will be the first action Baxter will be seeing on the field since he saved Johan Santana‘s no-hitter at Citi Field on June 1st. As the Mets outfielder suits up for action today, Jason Bay continues his trip back to the New York lineup, as he’s moved up from St. Lucie to Triple-A Buffalo.

Although he went 0-for-6 with two walks in his rehab down in Florida, Bay singled in four at-bats yesterday against Pawtucket. Terry Collins is anticipating that the Mets will activate their left fielder for the series opener Tuesday against Washington, but not before he talks to Jason on the phone. He wants to get an honest answer from the 22nd-highest-paid player in baseball concerning his MLB readiness. Depending on how he plays today, he should tell his skipper that he needs more time, but we all know that he won’t do that because he’s a competitor. In his three rehab starts, he’s only played left field for seven einnings, while being the DH at all other times. Let’s hope that moving to Triple-A first before being activated off the disabled list will help Bay get off to a quicker start than that 0-for-17 skid the last time he was activated.

Collins said that upon the return of Bay, his outfield alignment against left-handed starting pitchers will be Bay in left, Andres Torres in center, and Scott Hairston in right. Why no Lucas Duda? Well, he has a sore hamstring and is resting it in Atlanta, but he’s going to be losing some playing time because of his ineffective play. He’s only hitting .152 with one RBI in his last 10 games played and with a .222 average against southpaws, now is not the time of the year that Terry can ride out Duda’s cold streak. He must go with the hot hand, which is Hairston (.295/.333/.619 vs. LHP) to jump start the offense.

As for Frank Francisco and his journey back to joining the roster, it will be put on hold for a while. When throwing the other day, the Mets’ closer felt a tweak in his injured oblique and has been shut down for a few days before he’s reevaluated. So, that means that Bobby Parnell will continue to be at the back end of the New York bullpen for the foreseeable future. Oblique injuries are always hard to come back quickly from, especially for pitchers, and Francisco’s latest setback is another reason why.

As the Mets struggle out of the second-half gate, management is hoping they return to full strength sooner rather than later, and hope that all the injured players perform up to expectations.

Tags: Andres Torres Bobby Parnell Buffalo Bisons Frank Francisco Jason Bay Lucas Duda Matt Musico Mets Injury Updates Mike Baxter New York Mets Rehab Assignment Rising Apple Scott Hairston St. Lucie Mets

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