Bay takes extra BP before returning to lineup

Bay takes extra BP before returning to lineup

LOS ANGELES -- Mets left fielder Jason Bay took three rounds of early batting practice and his regular cage work on Friday, when he returned to the lineup for the second of a four-game set with the Dodgers.

Manager Jerry Manuel batted Bay seventh for just the ninth time in his career. Though Bay is struggling to control his head movement and find his swing at the plate, Manuel said there was no thought of giving the Mets' most recent free-agent prize a second straight day off.

"It looks like he's made some adjustments," Manuel said. "It would help to get some instant results, but I kind of like where he is fundamentally and mechanically right now. The results might not come tonight, but hopefully they will. I thought he swung the bat real well, real well."

Without being specific, hitting coach Howard Johnson said there was a particular adjustment Bay tried to implement Friday that was mechanical in nature but more related to timing. Manuel said Bay's pitch recognition "is probably the No. 1 thing" holding him back right now, which makes sense considering Bay has struck out eight times over his last three games. Bay hasn't had his eyes checked as part of deciphering his swoon, but Manuel felt that wasn't issue.

"We seem to think it's more of body movement, head movement toward the ball," Manuel said. "His head's doing a lot of things before you can recognize what the pitch is."

Manuel did acknowledge the chance that Bay could fall into a similar problem that David Wright did last year, when there was just too much tinkering going on.

"That's a possibility," he said. "Again, what you hope for after you have a session is you have to find some positives in what you see tonight."