Bay could be back to start second half

Outfielder Jason Bay did both running and throwing on the field prior to the Mets' series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday. If all goes well in another workout on Wednesday, Bay will be headed to Port St. Lucie to begin playing in rehab games.

"Optimistically it would be right after the All-Star break, if everything goes swimmingly," Bay said, when asked about his return to the team.

The Mets' starting left fielder has been out since suffering a concussion in a game against the Cincinnati Reds on June 15. He has accumulated just 75 at-bats so far in 2012, because of both the concussion and a fractured rib. He is hitting .187, with four home runs and six RBIs.

But Bay sounded enthusiastic on Tuesday about coming back to the club, saying he feels like the time off has served him well in some respects.

"I feel like I’m picking up on a lot more, too," Bay said. "You gotta do something with a lot of that down time. I kinda feel like now it’s just a matter of applying it to game situations.

"I kinda felt like I was just starting to get my feet back under me, and then I went right back down again."