NEW YORK -- Call it dealer's choice.
The Mets will allow R.A. Dickey to choose between making his final start on the last day of the season or the day before, manager Terry Collins said Tuesday. Dickey will decide after making his penultimate start -- his first crack at a 20th win -- Thursday against the Pirates at Citi Field.
If Dickey is sitting on 19 victories heading into the season's final series in Miami, it could make for a strategic decision. Factors include Dickey's desire to start on regular rest vs. one extra day, the Marlins' opposing starter each game and even the weather -- it will, after all, be the height of hurricane season in Miami.
Collins said that regardless of Dickey's decision, Jon Niese will make his final start Friday in Atlanta. Niese, who would have lined up for the last game of the season on a regular five-man rotation, has already set a career high in innings and has thrown 26 more than he did all of last year.
Bay held out of Mets' lineup with back stiffness
NEW YORK -- Jason Bay's injury-riddled Mets tenure continued Tuesday, when the team held Bay out of the lineup with a bout of back stiffness. Though Bay's recent starts in left field have come almost exclusively against left-handed pitchers, manager Terry Collins did not want to risk playing him Tuesday against Pirates lefty Wandy Rodriguez.
"He had it [Monday]," Collins said of the discomfort. "It's not much better today. I just said, 'Look, the one thing I don't want you to do is go out there and do something that's going to cost you the remaining seven games of the season.' So we'll give him the day off."
That line of thinking is nothing new for Bay, who missed significant time earlier this year with a fractured rib and a concussion. Multiple concussions, bone injuries and muscle strains have undermined Bay's three years in New York, landing him on the disabled list at least once per summer and causing him to miss more than 150 games -- roughly one full season.
It is impossible to quantify how much that has played a role in Bay's lack of production when healthy, but it certainly cannot be discounted. When healthy enough to play this season, Bay has hit just .155 with eight home runs, down even from his career-low stat lines in 2010 and '11.
"I think it might be two separate things," Collins said of Bay's injury history and lack of production. "Jason Bay is one of those guys who does play less than 100 percent. He's just a gamer. He just goes out and plays. It's tough for me to answer how that reflects on the fact that he hasn't produced here. I don't know how bad he's been hurt in the past."
Regardless, general manager Sandy Alderson said recently that the team has no intention of cutting Bay this offseason and eating the guaranteed $19 million remaining on his contract.
Fundraiser scheduled for Mets employee Forde
NEW YORK -- The Daniel P. Ryan Foundation and Chic Charity Club are supporting a fundraiser on Nov. 1 to benefit Shannon Forde, the Mets' senior director of media relations who was diagnosed earlier this month with Stage IV breast cancer.
The $100 fundraiser includes a dinner, open bar, cocktail hour and dancing at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park, N.J., emceed by broadcaster Ron Darling. The Mets will also host a $250 meet-and-greet and autograph session with former Mets Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, John Franco, Bobby Ojeda, Edgardo Alfonso, Al Leiter, Ed Charles and Ed Kranepool, as well as New York Giants two-time Super Bowl winner Sean Landeta.
Tickets for either portion of the fundraiser can be purchased separately or together as a package for $300. They are available at hopeshinesforshannon.com, or by contacting Debbie Durante at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cindy Santos at email@example.com.
Fans unable to attend can also make monetary donations by mailing checks payable to "Hope Shines for Shannon" to PO Box 3145, Point Pleasant, N.J., 08742.