Jason Bay played in what looked to be his last game with Triple-A Buffalo last night to complete his latest rehab assignment, going 0-for-2 with 2 walks, and losing a ball in the lights out in left field. Although that wasn’t an impressive showing before being activated off the disabled list, Terry Collins pointed to the fact that he would like to start Bay in left field tonight against southpaw Ross Detwiler. The Mets are 12-20 against left-handed pitchers in 2012 and could use all the right-handed bats they can get.
Bay’s second rehab assignment this season was much different than his first. Before returning against the Yankees after rehabbing a
fractured rib, he had only played three games with the Class-A St. Lucie Mets, with just one of them coming in the field. This time around, the organization decided to take their time with their left fielder, having him participate in a five-game rehab assignment, playing two games with St. Lucie, then moving up to Triple-A to play three games with the Buffalo Bisons, where he played the field in the last two contests.
When talking to the media after last night’s game against the Toledo Mud Hens, Bay touched upon taking his time through his most recent trip through the minors before getting activated:
“I just desperately want to be out there. I came back last time, I’m not saying it was too quick, it just took time to get your footing under you. We felt this time back around we were going to take our time and make sure — not just say, ‘Hey, good enough. OK, come on up.’ You’ve got to get your feet under you. I’m not making the decision, so we’ll find out. But hopefully I’ll be in Washington tomorrow.”
With the left hander on the mound tonight, Bay’s number should be getting called, as Terry Collins said he would like to have an outfield of Bay in left, Andres Torres in center, and Scott Hairston in right against southpaws. Taking part in games in higher levels of the minors will hopefully help Bay get his feet underneath him much quicker than his last return from the disabled list, where he endured an 0-for-17 skid before he got himself into the hit column. There’s no guarantee this return will be more fruitful than the last, but his 3-for-10 showing with the Bisons looks a lot more promising than the .222 he put up in Port St. Lucie back in June.
All we know is that the Mets can’t afford to have Bay come out and go hitless in his first 17 at-bats again this time around. This is a crucial series in Washington for New York to get back on track after a lackluster return to action following the All-Star break, so Mr. Bay is going to have to produce for the middle of this lineup.