NEW YORK -- So bored, apprehensive and anxious was Jason Bay that when Mets trainer Ray Ramirez called the left fielder at his home Friday afternoon, Bay was "out the door five minutes later."

Ramirez, after speaking with Mets doctors, told Bay that he has been cleared to begin physical exertion. And so Bay, who suffered a concussion five weeks ago at Dodger Stadium, will begin riding a stationary bike with the goal of soon participating in baseball activities, and eventually, returning from the disabled list.

Even if Bay can only play in a handful of games down the stretch, he wants to return.

"It's probably going to be a fairly lengthy process," Bay said. "I haven't done much in a month. But I'm just excited to get out of the house and start doing something."

For the past five weeks, Bay and a slew of doctors have puzzled over his concussion, the symptoms of which did not fully reveal themselves until two days after Bay slammed against Dodger Stadium's left-field wall in late July. It was not until the plane ride back east that Bay began experiencing the bouts of dizziness and nausea that stayed with him for weeks.

Bay insists he never actually hit his head against the wall -- though direct head trauma is not a prerequisite for a concussion.

Whatever the root of his issues, the Mets refused to clear Bay for physical exertion until he lasted two consecutive days without experiencing symptoms. On Wednesday and Thursday, Bay did so for the first time. And that put a quick end to his days of lounging at home, chatting frequently with concussed Twins slugger Justin Morneau.

Morneau, like Bay, hopes to return in September. But his team is in the thick of a playoff race in the American League Central.

The Mets are in no such race, making Bay's return less necessary. Regardless, he will soon begin riding a stationary bike, while the Mets continue monitoring their $66 million outfielder for any recurrence of symptoms. With the team no longer in serious playoff contention, there are merits to the argument that he should not even attempt a comeback until next season.

"Whatever we do," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said, "we're definitely going to be cautious."

Though Bay understands that need for caution, he still feels compelled to return this season.

"It's peace of mind," he said. "I don't see why I couldn't and shouldn't play."

Even if Bay does return, he will not have much time to improve upon the .259 average, six home runs and 49 RBIs he amassed over his first 95 games as a Met.

"You can't sugarcoat it," he said. "I'm definitely a lot better than that. Like I've said before, this is the reality. This is what happened. Unfortunately it didn't go as expected. But I have plenty of time for redemption."

With Reyes day-to-day, Mets recall Hernandez

NEW YORK -- Jose Reyes knows all about being day-to-day.

Reyes was "day-to-day" for weeks last season after suffering an injury that eventually developed into a season-ending hamstring tear. He was day-to-day this spring, when doctors discovered that he had a thyroid imbalance. And he was day-to-day back in June and July, when he strained his right oblique for the first time.

Now, Reyes has a strained right oblique once more, the product of a swing in the second inning of Thursday's game.

He is day-to-day.

"We'll wait and see what the doctors have to say," manager Jerry Manuel said, "and then we'll go from there."

Anticipating that Reyes may miss more than a few days, the Mets optioned outfielder Jesus Feliciano to Triple-A Buffalo on Friday and recalled middle infielder Luis Hernandez, who will back up Ruben Tejada at shortstop. Hernandez, 26, was hitting .280 in 47 games with Buffalo.

Though Reyes claims that this injury is not as severe as the original oblique strain he suffered back in June, the Mets may proceed with more caution this time. When Reyes talked himself back into the lineup early last month, he ultimately aggravated the strain and missed more time before returning for good.

"He's that key to the club, no question about that," Manuel said. "We hope to manage this to where hopefully it's not a long type of thing. He's very, very important to us."

Mets' first pick Harvey introduced at Citi

NEW YORK -- While the Mets and agent Scott Boras spent the summer frantically trying to hash out a deal for first-round Draft pick Matt Harvey, the pitcher himself spent his days relaxing on a fishing boat with his father. Harvey wanted to sign and the Mets wanted to sign him. It was just a matter of when.

"This was the first real summer I've ever had to have a chance to spend time with my family," Harvey said. "It was a lot of fun."

And the contract got done. On Friday, 11 days after Harvey, the seventh overall pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft, inked his deal, the Mets officially introduced him at a news conference at Citi Field. First baseman Ike Davis, the organization's first-round pick in 2008, presented Harvey with his first Mets jersey.

"Growing up in Connecticut, the Mets were my National League team that I was a big fan of," Harvey said. "Having the opportunity to get started in this organization is very special."

Though Harvey, 21, signed too late to play in the Minor Leagues this season, the Mets plan on assigning him to an instructional league in September.

Harvey has already drawn comparisons to former first-rounder Mike Pelfrey, due to his 6-foot-4 frame and power fastball.

Clijsters tosses first pitch on Friday night

NEW YORK -- The reigning U.S. Open women's tennis champion, Kim Clijsters, will begin her title defense next week. But first, she wanted to learn a thing or two about baseball.

"It's an honor to be here and to be a part of an American sport," said the Belgium native, who threw out the first pitch of Friday's game at Citi Field. "I always enjoy meeting other athletes and getting to know what their lives are about."

Clijsters mingled on the field during batting practice, meeting David Wright and other members of the Mets.