Terry Collins has faith that Jason Bay can still be the potent 30-homer, 100-RBI threat he was with the Pirates and Red Sox. But right now, with Bay in the midst of an 0-for-17 skid, Collins decided it was best to give his slumping 32-year-old veteran a couple days off.
New York Mets
“I want him to play in Milwaukee,” said Collins, who decided to keep Bay out of the lineup for Sunday night’s game against the Braves. “But I’ve been around this guy enough now where I thought [Sunday] combined with the day off [Monday] just gives him a chance to take a deep breath. He’s worked hard and he’s so frustrated right now, I just said hey let’s give him a blow and get him ready for Tuesday.”
Bay, who is batting just .216 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in 37 games this season, was moved down to the No. 6 spot in the batting order on Saturday night. He hasn’t homered in 66 at-bats, and is hitting .171 with runners in scoring position.
Bay said that he hasn't changed anything mechanically. On Saturday, he pointed out that his timing is off because of an issue with his front foot. He added that he 'understands' Collins' decision to sit him.
"I don't think [sitting] can hurt. I understand the theory behind it," he said. "You just gotta try it out and maybe it'll help."
When he returns to the lineup on Tuesday in Milwaukee, Bay hopes his success during batting practice can transfer to the game.
"I don't just want to be a 'five o'clock hitter,'" he said.
Collins said he was impressed with Bay’s ability to strike the ball during batting practice.
“I threw batting practice to him one day. And as you guys know, I throw pretty hard BP from that close, and this guy's hands through the strike zone are lightning,” Collins said. “Does he get his foot down and his hands back? Well that’s a [hitting coach] Dave Hudgens thing. But this guy is the ultimate team player.”
The manager believes that Bay will eventually get going. He just hasn’t yet.
“It’s still there,” Collins said of Bay’s run producing prowess. “I think Jason came to spring training and thought he needed to control his swing a little better. I don’t know if he’s tried to change his swing to be a little more consistent. He just hasn’t had much success with it yet.
“I think some of it is mechanical. I think there’s some things he needs to work on and is trying to work on. He’s so proud. He’s such a pro and demands so much of himself as a player, and sometimes those guys are never satisfied.”
Bay hasn’t had an extra-base hit in his last 14 games and just two in his last 25 games dating back to May 6. He’s in the second year of a four-year, $66 million contract.
Rookie Jason Pridie will start in left field for the Mets on Sunday night.
Collins said that Bay will hit sixth on Tuesday against the Brewers, and will continue to stay there until he gets going.