Jason Bay received word from trainer Ray Ramirez at 3:30 p.m. that he had been cleared to begin physical exertion, five weeks to the day after suffering a July 23 concussion at Dodger Stadium. He hopped in his car and headed to Citi Field five minutes later. He will begin by riding a bicycle. Bay hopes to return by season's end, although he's not sure it's possible.
How do you feel?
"I feel a lot better. Even the last week or so, I've felt very good most parts of the day. Just a few times I don't feel good. And the last couple of days I've felt great. So it's probably going to be a fairly lengthy process. I haven't done much in a month. But I'm just excited to get out of the house and start doing something."
When did the headaches go away?
"The last week or so you go 90, 95 percent of the day and you feel fine. And usually at night a little bit you kind of get ... and we're not talking migraines. We're just talking a little uncomfortable. Enough to know you really can't do much yet."
You think you will play again this season?
"I expect to. But at the same time I'm not foolish to know that I haven't done anything in a month and there's a certain rigor of programs you need to go through. I'm also fighting not just getting back into shape, but also making sure my head doesn't hurt either. You're going against two things. I fully expect to and I want to. I also understand we have time constraints as well. If the consolation to all of it is going into the offseason knowing I didn't have any restrictions, that's definitely something that I need to do."
Had you had a previous concussion that might account for how long this one has taken?
"No. And that was kind of half the issue. I mean, I think everybody has had a concussion at some point. They classify so many different things in so many different ways. I didn't really know what to draw on. It was just, 'How do you feel?' 'I feel good today.' You go through an hour or two where you just want to lie down and take a nap and close your eyes. It started off as kind of a constant thing and over the last couple of weeks it's kind of slowly weened down to nothing so far."
Have you spoken with other athletes with concussions?
"Plenty. I talked to a good friend of mine who is going through it right now -- Justin Morneau. He's struggling a little bit. I've had a lot of time -- looking stuff up and just kind of getting a feel. It's one of those things that everybody is different."
Should you or someone on the staff recognized you suffered a concussion on the play and not allowed you to play the next two days?
"I don't think so. Ultimately, everybody goes off what I say. That night I felt like I ran into a wall, obviously. And the next day, honestly, I was sore body-wise, but I didn't feel anything. It's kind of hard to try to fault anybody when you don't say anything and when you have nothing wrong. For whatever reason, the next day, I don't know if something triggered it or just that was the delay. No one has an idea. But not one of the symptoms presented itself."
When will you start baseball activities?
"I don't know. I'm just looking forward to getting on a bike right now and doing something. ... I'm so bored, I'm just looking forward to doing something."
What's this experience been like?
"You definitely become a little more 'fan-ish,' if that makes sense. You're watching the games on TV. You understand frustrations because when you're there and you can do something about it, it's a lot easier. When you're sitting there watching things unfold on TV -- a bad call or a bad play or anything like that -- it's almost 10 times more frustrating."
Even if you come back for the final week or two, your stats aren't going to change much. How would you summarize Year 1 in New York?
"You can't sugarcoat it. Not good. I'm definitely a lot better than that. Like I've said before, this is the reality. This is what happened. Unfortunately it didn't go as expected. But I have plenty of time for redemption. For whatever reason -- everybody can speculate on whatever the reason might be -- I just chalk it up to it didn't work out."
Do you think you maybe did hit your head on the wall at Dodger Stadium? Or was it whiplash?
"I've been asked that question 100 times by doctors. I think the biggest thing was just the whiplash portion of it. ... You play it over 100 times and I don't think we would have done it any differently. I felt fine. And then Sunday after the game I didn't feel all that great."
Carlos Beltran wanted to come back last year for "peace of mind" with his knee when arguably he should have shut it down, and he ultimately needed surgery. Maybe it's not apples to apples, but is there any merit that shutting it down is best to avoid anything longer term?
"There's also a part of me that if you go through all the stuff and you're ready to play, why aren't you playing? You know what I mean? OK, I'm ready to go. There's nine games left. Or whatever it is. But you're not going to play? It would be tough to sit back. I understand the idea and the merit to it. I think right now more than anything it's more peace of mind. There was a point as I'm sitting there in the middle of August thinking if this doesn't clear up, I can't resume offseason training. I'll be seeing doctors. It's another thing you don't want to go through. I'm looking forward to getting through all of this knowing that's fine. If there's two games left, OK, maybe not. If there's more than that and I'm able to play, I don't see why I couldn't and shouldn't play."