Bay returns to lineup after lengthy absence

Bay returns to lineup after lengthy absence

NEW YORK -- Outfielder Jason Bay returned to the lineup Friday night against the Yankees after a six-week stint on the disabled list with a fractured left rib.

Bay hit in the eight spot in the lineup in his first appearance since April 23. He was activated by the team on Wednesday, but was held out of the game due to a sinus infection. Bay was scheduled to return on Thursday, but hewas scratched from the lineup less than hour before the game started.

Bay told reporters about three hours before game time that he felt fine, but not quite 100 percent.

After three rehab games with Class A Port St. Lucie, Bay said he feels ready to return and is focusing on transitioning back into a normal schedule.

"I just want to get back into the routine," Bay said. "I've kind of been away for so long that I just want to get out there and not have it be a novelty."

Manager Terry Collins said the decision to have Bay hit eighth was a combination of the outfielder's lengthy absence, as well as the recent hot hitting of Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy and Scott Hairston, who hit Nos. 4-6 on Friday night.

"He hasn't played in a couple of days, really hasn't played a lot in the past six weeks," Collins said. "I called him in and asked him if he had an issue with it and he did not, so that's the way we went."