Mets could start platooning Bay, lefties in left

Mets could start platooning Bay, lefties in left

NEW YORK -- Change could be coming in left field as soon as Wednesday, when manager Terry Collins will likely sit Jason Bay in favor of a left-handed hitter.

Collins has become accustomed to platooning his outfielders with the number of injuries the Mets have had to deal with this season, but he's also been adamant about giving Bay the proper amount of time to regain his form as a starting left fielder.

But while Collins has vouched for him, Bay hasn't helped his own cause. In 18 games since returning from the disabled list on July 17, he's hitting .109 with a home run and five RBIs. And on the Mets' 10-game road trip, he went 2-for-31 at the plate as the team's starting left fielder.

"Certainly Jason and I are going to sit down and have a conversation about how we're going to proceed forward," Collins said.

Said Bay: "If I had a better leg to stand on, I could say something. But as of right now, I don't. I don't want to be a distraction. I want to go out there and help out any way that I can."

Left-handed hitters Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin have both seen time in left field this season and had their fair share of success at the plate. Valdespin is hitting .260 this season, but holds a .297 batting average and has hit five home runs with 13 RBIs since getting recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on July 5.

Baxter has been quite the success story in his own right. He held a .323 batting average before injuring his left shoulder when he crashed into the left-field wall during Johan Santana's no-hitter on June 1. Since returning from the DL on July 30, he's raised his OBP to .422 with the help of his five-walk game on Monday.

"We're going to make some -- certainly depending on who is on the mound -- some adjustments out there," Collins said. "We've got to get our left-handed bats in the lineup. Those guys have given us good opportunities to win some games, and they're having some pretty good years."

Collins knows he needs to find at-bats for the left-handed-hitting outfielders who are producing, but he also doesn't want to write off Bay. The 30-year-old right-handed hitter started in left on Tuesday against Marlins left-handed starter Wade LeBlanc, and he should still see time in the lineup against left-handers in the future.

"Right now, Jason Bay, he's going to play tonight," Collins said. "Tomorrow's guy [Nathan Eovaldi] has been pretty tough on righties with his breaking stuff. I looked and this weekend we've got a couple lefties, so Jason is going to get a lot of at-bats to get it going."