Bay homers, robs one in return to lineup

Bay homers, robs one in return to lineup

Bay homers, robs one in return to lineup
ATLANTA -- After the latest victim of a finger injury thrived in his first game back, Mets manager Terry Collins joked that the rest of his team was outside diving into bases, trying to jam their own fingers.

Like David Wright before him, Jason Bay seemed better off after injuring his finger, robbing a home run and hitting one of his own Monday in his first game back.

"That's Jason Bay," manager Terry Collins said. "Nobody's more frustrated with the lack of production than Jason Bay is. But when you're the manager of a team or a teammate, you know that guy's going out there and playing his heart out every night."

That surfaced most visibly in the fifth inning, when Bay leaped to rob former Pirates teammate Jack Wilson of a solo home run -- almost an identical catch to the one he made against Alex Gonzalez at Turner Field last September.

Four innings later, Bay homered to deep center.

"I just had a tough time getting my finger around the bat yesterday," Bay said before the game. "With the swelling down, it's a little sore, which is to be expected. But soreness, you can handle. Not being able to grip the bat was kind of a pain."

But it was no more an issue for Bay than for Wright, who fractured his right pinkie last Monday and missed three games, then hit a home run in his first at-bat back. Collins inserted Bay back into the fifth spot in the lineup, where the left fielder has struggled throughout the young season. In seven prior games batting out of that slot, Bay hit .174 with nine strikeouts in 23 at-bats.

Entering Monday's play, Bay was averaging one strikeout every 2.82 plate appearances, the worst rate in the National League. He was also walking in less than 10 percent of his plate appearances for the first time since 2007.