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Sunday, July 17, 2011
Bay: 'I'm more frustrated than anybody'

By Mike Mazzeo

Jason Bay can understand the fans’ frustration.

But their frustration, the 32-year-old left fielder says, doesn’t even come close to his.

“You think that I enjoy what I’m doing out there?” Bay asked after he went 0-for-4 with a walk at the plate in Sunday afternoon’s 8-5 loss to the Phillies and committed his second error in the field. “I’m more frustrated than anybody, but I gotta come back and do it every single day. I can’t get caught up in the frustration because I gotta come back and do it every day. It’s tough, especially when you’ve struggled as long as I have. ... But you can’t run from it. You gotta keep battling.”

Bay’s tenure as a Met can be aptly described as a battle -- a losing battle.

He has the track record. He has the talent. But for some reason, he just hasn’t been able to rediscover it since signing a four-year, $66 million contract with the Mets in 2009.

On Sunday afternoon, Bay's average plummeted to .234. In his last 30 at-bats, he has just three hits, two of which came on Saturday afternoon.

And to make matters worse, he let a line drive bounce off his glove in the eighth, which led directly to three unearned runs and plenty of boos from the crowd of 34,695 at Citi Field.

“I just missed it,” Bay said. “The sun wasn’t in my face. I just missed it.”

Bay’s continued struggles have prompted speculation about a possible demotion to the bench.

Manager Terry Collins said he’d have a conversation with Bay prior to Monday night’s game against the Florida Marlins.

“I show up, if I’m in the lineup, I’m in the lineup,” Bay said. “If not, that’s not my decision to make.”

Bay says he feels better than he did when he was slumping earlier in the season. He says he doesn’t feel lost at the plate like he once did.

At this point, Bay isn’t searching for his swing. He’s searching for success.

“I kind of felt like before the break things started going well, and obviously I haven’t carried that momentum, but I’m trying to get that momentum that I had,” Bay said. “I mean, early on when I was struggling, I felt like I was struggling. And right now I don’t. Obviously the results aren’t there, but I don’t feel as lost as I was early on. I feel like I’m having good at-bats. You don’t want to say it’s close all the time, but I feel like I’m in a better place even though I’m not getting those hits than early on when I didn’t know really know what was going on.”

But the fact is, Bay isn’t producing. And with Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Ike Davis and David Wright out of the lineup, he needs to.

He just hasn’t.

“It’s always tough when you have chances,” Bay said of the loss, which pushed the Mets 12 games behind the Phillies in the NL East standings. “We can play the ‘What if? game’ forever, but ultimately it’s about wins and losses.”