Wright-Bay connection looks good early
Mets' third baseman benefits from left fielder's presence
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- As unceremonious as it might have been, hitting in front of Jason Bay immediately paid dividends for David Wright. And though it may have been nothing more than mere coincidence, it was a good start for the Mets' third baseman, who badly needed one.
While hosting the Cardinals at Tradition Field on Thursday, the Mets unveiled a new middle-of-the-order combination with Wright -- coming off a career-low 10 home runs in 2009 -- and Bay -- signed to a four-year, $66 million contract in the hopes that he can spark an offense that was last in the Majors in the long-ball category last year.
Who knows how Wright and Bay will follow each other up in the lineup as the season progresses, but Wright sure benefited from being the No. 3 hitter while Bay waited on deck in his first at-bat, when he smoked a line drive towards a windy right field that rocketed over the fence for a two-run homer off Evan MacLane.
"I think it's going to help anybody who hits in front of Jason -- a guy that's so good at driving runs in that pitchers aren't going to want to necessarily face him in a big situation," Wright said before his club wrapped up a 17-11 win over the Cardinals to move to 2-1 in Grapefruit League play. "The guys in front of him are going to see better pitches, so I think there's no question hitting in front of him is going to help out whoever it is."
Wright finished the day 1-for-2 with the homer, a strikeout, a walk and two runs scored. Mets manager Jerry Manuel said he "had one of the better swings I've seen him have in a long time.
"I thought all his at-bats, it looked like there was a threat that he was going to hit the ball hard somewhere. He was in a good position all day, I'll put it that way."
Bay's Mets tenure still isn't much to talk about one way or the other, basically because it's a very small sample size.
The 31-year-old right-handed-hitting outfielder went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a walk in his Amazin's debut. While finishing up a postgame banana in the clubhouse after being taken out of the game, Bay said Spring Training numbers don't dictate how his seasons will pan out, one way or the other.
But he did say he's happy to be back on the field, and he called baseball a "safe haven" from all the hoopla a free-agency offseason can bring.
"There's a lot that goes on [with] being on a new team and everything," Bay said. "Once you get out on the field, it's what I've done -- what we've all done our entire lives.
"But it's about getting ready for the season. For me, I like to see a lot of pitches just to get a feel for being in the batter's box and seeing pitches. Yeah, everybody wants results. But good or bad in Spring Training, I don't think it's really had much carryover into the season."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.