VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg typically throws his fastballs in the mid- to upper-90s, a good number of them with even more velocity than that. Being struck by one is not a pleasant experience.
Such was the luck of Jason Bay, who left Sunday's game after taking a Strasburg fastball off his right forearm in the third inning. With the area wrapped tightly in ice, Bay said afterward that he believes the ball struck enough muscle for him to avoid bone damage or a significant absence.
"It got me in the meat of the forearm and just tightened up, as expected," Bay said. "Hopefully, disaster avoided."
Following a brief conference in foul territory with Mets manager Terry Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez, Bay stayed in to run the bases after Strasburg plunked him. But he did not return to the field for the bottom of the third inning, saying his forearm had tightened to such an extent that he could barely grip or throw a baseball.
Regardless, Bay did not expect to receive an X-ray or any other tests, because the ball did not hit him on a bone. The pitch also struck Bay far enough up the arm for the outfielder to avoid any serious damage to his hand or wrist.
Once the swelling subsides, he will better be able to assess his recovery.
"Anytime you get hit anywhere on the wrist, the hand, it hits you and everything kind of goes numb," Bay said. "You don't really know how bad [it is]. I'm just lucky he got me on the muscle than the bone. It's a trickier spot if it's four or five inches up."
Bay, who began last season on the disabled list with a left intercostal strain, is hitting. 233 for the spring, but .409 over his last nine games. He batted .245 last season with 12 home runs, and has hit a total of 18 homers over his first two seasons with the Mets.
Already playing without starting center fielder Andres Torres and backup Scott Hairston, the Mets could have ill afforded another serious outfield injury. Earlier this week, the team promoted prospect Matt den Dekker back to big league camp because they had run low on healthy center-field options. Torres in particular remains a question mark for Opening Day.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.