Manuel: Bay is pressing

Jerry Manuel noticed that Jason Bay was pressing a bit, so he gave him a day off on Sunday - the same day they handed out “Jason Bay” Bobbleheads at Citi Field.

“You’re going to go through some things and try harder than you’ve ever tried before,” Manuel said of Bay’s first season in New York. “What he needs to do is exhale and play Jason Bay baseball. I think the West Coast is a good start for him.”

Bay is hitless in his last ten at-bats and is batting just .184 (7-for-38) in his last 10 games.

He has just six home runs through the first half of the first season of a four-year $66 million contract. He hit 36 homers last season.

REST FOR REYES ON MONDAY: Injured shortstop Jose Reyes will rest on Monday and resume rehab activities on Tuesday. Reyes left Saturday's game in the seventh inning after aggravating his strained right oblique. He sat out of Sunday's game and has missed seven of the past 11 games with the injury.

Reyes swung left-handed for the second straight day on Sunday and said he felt "better" than he did on Saturday.

"I still feel it a little bit," said Reyes, whose injury has forced him to hit solely from the right side.

Reyes will travel to Anaheim for All-Star game festivities. He plans to receive treatment from the National League team's trainer. He will not play in the game.

"I’m disappointed because I want to play but I understand that I have a problem and I have to get ready for the second half to help this team to win," Reyes said. "So that’s the most important thing right now, to help the New York Mets."

Reyes was, however, optimistic about the prospect of returning to the lineup on Thursday against the Giants.

IKE HOMERS, WINS POOL: Ike Davis had a pretty good day on Sunday.

The rookie first baseman finished his first-half on a positive note by hitting a monster home run and won the team's World Cup pool.

Davis went 2-for-3 with a 420-foot solo homer to center field in the sixth to put the Mets up, 3-0.

"Getting a 'W' and hitting the ball up the middle hard is what I was trying to do," said Davis, who had World Cup champion Spain in the team's pool. "And now I can go into the break with a positive attitude (knowing) that I’ve made some adjustments."

Davis was just 8-for-39 in the last ten games prior to Sunday.

GLASS HALF FULL AFTER FIRST-HALF: The Mets (48-40) finished the first half with a 2-4 home stand against the Reds and the Braves - two first-place teams. They are four back of the Braves entering the All-Star Break and blew a chance to earn a share for first-place in the NL East by losing two of three to Atlanta this weekend.

Still, Manuel and Johan Santana were encouraged by the team's first half.

“We were hoping that when we got Carlos back we’d be at least .500 or at least in shouting distance but I think we’ve surpassed that,” Manuel said after Sunday's 3-0 win over Atlanta.

"We’re going to compete (in the second half)," added Santana, who threw seven shutout innings on Sunday to improve to 7-5. " That’s the way we have approached everything from the beginning. This is not going to change."

David Wright agrees, but sees room for improvement.

"We’ve had our ups and downs. We’re not satifisfied by any means being (four) games out," said Wright, who went 1-for-3 with a walk on Sunday and finished the first half hitting .314. "As far as I’m concerned our goal is to win the division."

The Mets begin the second half of the season with an 11-day, 11-game road trip.

BOBBY ON PAR: Bobby Parnell struck out Chipper Jones to open a what was a 1-2-3 eighth inning against the Braves on Sunday. Parnell has a 1.64 ERA in 12 appearances this season and is unscored upon in ten of those appearances.

Manuel was encouraged by Parnell's performance and the manager hinted that Parnell was a legitimte candidate for the team's eighth-inning role out of the pen, one that the team has been trying to fill all season.

Francisco Rodriguez finished with a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 21st save.

FIVE WALKS FOR PEREZ: Left-hander Oliver Perez walked five in five innngs on Sunday in a rehab start for Buffalo. Perez surrendered three hits and one earned run. Manuel said earlier this week that Perez would make one more start before returning to the big-league club. It's unclear what role Perez will play when he comes back to Queens.

RYOTA PITCHES IN: Ryota Igarashi tossed a scoreless eighth inning for Port St. Lucie in his first minor-league appearance. He struck out one. Igarashi (0-1, 7.91 ERA in the bigs) was sent down to make room for Nick Evans.

JESUS OUT: Jesus Feliciano will be demoted to make room for Carlos Beltran.