Bay dodges severe injury, but offense lags

PHOENIX -- Jason Bay’s latest collision with a wall did not leave long-lasting damage, the left fielder said late Friday.

Bay’s right knee was wrapped after the Mets’ 11-5 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He had made a second-inning-ending catch on Jason Kubel in foul territory down the line.

Jason Bay

Jason Bay

#44 LF
New York Mets

2012 STATS

  • GM32
  • HR5

  • RBI8

  • R11

  • OBP.246

  • AVG.170

“I just banged my knee. Nothing major,” Bay said. “A little bruise. I’m fine. I made it through and put some ice on it. It should be good.”

Bay already has landed on the disabled list this season for a fractured rib and concussion after aggressive outfield catch attempts.

“It’s kind of funny,” he said about fellow Mets’ reaction after this incident, “because every time that happens, I get into the dugout and there’s 15 different people asking me, ‘Are you OK?’

“I’m just like, ‘Yeah, I just hit my knee.’

“‘Are you sure?’

“I’m like, ‘Yeah, I think so. I just hit my knee.’

“I think everybody else has that reaction. I’m just worried about catching the ball.”

Said Terry Collins: “He said he had a little bit of a stinger, and the next inning he was OK.”

Bay went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Friday as his average sagged to .170. He already has sat twice this week at Citi Field against right-handed pitchers.

Asked if he felt particular pressure to produce this trip, Bay said: “It’s kind of been that way the whole time. It really hasn’t been all of sudden this trip, this game, this at-bat, or whatever. It’s kind of been that way for a couple of years.

“You go out there and you grind and you grind, you work and you work, and this and that. Ultimately, who cares? Who cares how hard you work? It’s about getting stuff done and not doing it. Trust me, nobody takes that harder than me -- probably a little too much sometimes. You keep playing hard and what happens, happens. I’m still in there every day doing everything I possibly can to get better.”

Collins tried to minimize Bay’s paltry production, suggesting the pair of trips to the disabled list, which has limited Bay to 106 at-bats in 2012, prevented the outfielder from getting into a groove at the plate.

“I know he’s a great player. He’s here because he put up great numbers,” Collins said. “But when you look at his last year and a half in baseball, so much of it has been spent hurt. I’m not sure he’s ever been able to get into a groove. And right now … he’s at, what, 107 at-bats? If he came out of spring training and had 107 at-bats, we’d blow it off.

“But because we’re in such need of offense right now and he’s the offensive hitter we so desperately needed, the expectations are huge. So, as I’ve tried to explain to him, ‘It’s about continuing to go up and do your extra work, your early work. Try to get a feel for it. Try to get comfortable in the batter’s box. And in a few games we’ll see where you are.’”

Asked about the injuries preventing him from ever being in a groove, Bay downplayed it as a factor.

“That might be a little cushion to fall back on,” he said. “I don’t really feel that way, just because I feel like I’m a better player. Granted, it hasn’t been a continuous, seamless season to get to this point. And sometimes, I think, you lose sight of that. But, at the same time, I don’t really feel like that’s a [valid] crutch. I feel, ‘OK, you’re a little off here and there.’ But I don’t feel like that’s something I can put in my pocket and say, ‘Well, it’s only been that [number of at-bats].’

“Even with the chopped up 107 or 108 at-bats, I should be better. And I feel like I am better.”