Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Pregame notes: Bay, Baxter, Duda and more
By Kieran Darcy
Jason Bay is not in the lineup for Wednesday night's game, with righty Nathan Eovaldi starting for the Miami Marlins.
The Mets announced on Tuesday that they were going to begin platooning Bay, meaning he typically won't be in the lineup when the opposing pitcher is right-handed.
The 33-year-old outfielder is hitting .157, with five home runs and 11 RBIs, in 134 at-bats this season. He went 3-for-42 (.071) in his past 14 games.
But Mets manager Terry Collins is still hopeful Bay can make a positive contribution in the final two months of the season.
"We watch him on a daily basis hit balls in the upper deck," Collins said. "It sounds like it might be easy 'cause it’s batting practice, but you gotta supply the power in batting practice, 'cause it’s 60 miles an hour compared to 90 in a game. So we know it’s still in there -- we just gotta somehow get the old swing back, that confidence back, that aggressiveness back, and hopefully we’ll be able to do it in this new role he’s gonna be in."
• In place of Bay, Jordany Valdespin will man left field Wednesday night, with Mike Baxter in right field.
When asked about the outfield configuration, Collins explained that Baxter has played right field more often, and also he believes right field is a little tougher. Valdespin still has very little experience playing the outfield.
Collins also mentioned the possibility of splitting left field duties between Bay and Lucas Duda down the line. Duda is currently with Triple-A Buffalo, trying to work out his swing.
"Swinging better," said Collins, when asked about Duda's progress at Triple-A. "Wally [Backman] told me yesterday that he’s taking much better swings, he’s much quieter at the plate. He had a lot of movement when he went down there -- they said he’s spread himself out a little bit, seems that he’s just squaring up more balls than he did here. Those are all good signs."
In 11 games with the Bisons, Duda is hitting .262, with two home runs and six RBIs. But he has eight hits in his past five games.
In the majors this season, Duda was hitting .241, with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs, but batted just .140 in 43 at-bats in July before being shipped down.
• Backup catcher Rob Johnson, suffering from a bruised right hand, continues to feel better, said Collins. But Collins said he plans to start Josh Thole again on Thursday, even though it's a day game after a night game, since the Mets will be facing the Marlins' righty ace, Josh Johnson.