Bay targeting return right after All-Star break

Bay targeting return right after All-Star break

Bay targeting return right after All-Star break
NEW YORK -- Once entirely uncertain when he might be able to return from a concussion, outfielder Jason Bay is now targeting the stretch of schedule immediately following the All-Star break.

"Optimistically, it would be right after the All-Star break if everything goes swimmingly," Bay said Tuesday, after working out in front of Mets medical staff members. "But we haven't gotten this far down the road yet as to know exactly what that might entail."

Symptom-free for nearly two weeks, Bay simply must remain healthy as he continues to ramp up his rehab from a June 15 concussion. If all goes well this week at Citi Field, Bay will travel to Florida over the weekend to begin playing in rehab games for Class A St. Lucie.

And if he continues to progress without setbacks in Florida, that would put him in line for a return sometime after the July 10 All-Star Game.

"That's run by the medical department," manager Terry Collins said. "Certainly they're the ones who are on top of how bad the concussions can be. I know Jason's champing at the bit. Hopefully, by the end of the week, he's down in Florida starting to amp up for once the break's over."

How best to fit Bay back into the daily lineup will be Collins' challenge later this month. But with starting outfielders Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Andres Torres and Lucas Duda all struggling offensively to some extent, there should be plenty of at-bats available for a former 30-home run threat.

Though Bay has not come close to those sorts of power numbers in his first three injury-riddled seasons with the Mets, he has shown flashes of his old self when healthy this season.

"I haven't been out there very much, and that's been the frustrating part," Bay said. "I just really want to be a part of what we've got going on in here. I've been a fan for most of the season watching this, and that definitely makes it a lot more enticing to get back and try to be a part of it."