NEW YORK -- Jason Bay is finally back, activated from the disabled list before Thursday's game against the Astros. The Mets spent their pregame hours rapping about what Bay means to this team, and what he can offer with his bat, his hustle and merely his presence.
Now, the question has shifted back toward production for Bay, who hit just six home runs in the four months before his concussion last July.
"The home run was a big part of my game, driving in runs," Bay said. "Not having that and still being able to drive runs in, you try to take some positives. It wasn't a lot, but I feel like I'm better than that guy, and I kind of feel like I rededicated to that and I'm just trying to get back to it. I think at some point last year, I lost it. I lost being that guy. I've had a lot of time to try to get it back."
After the concussion knocked him out for the final two months of last season, Bay finished this spring with a left oblique injury -- "impeccable timing," he quipped -- that kept him sidelined for most of April.
Now, he is back, taking the roster spot of reliever Bobby Parnell, who went on the disabled list with numbness in his right middle finger. In addition to giving the Mets another proven slugger in the middle of their lineup, Bay's presence will allow Angel Pagan to slide back into the two hole in the lineup, while simultaneously providing better protection for middle-of-the-order hitters David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Ike Davis.
"You're getting another guy who's a star," manager Terry Collins said. "That's a huge addition to anybody's lineup, and right now we need it here. We need his presence. We need everything he brings to the table."
Ideally, the Mets hope, Bay will immediately reestablish himself as the player who averaged 31 home runs per season from 2005-09, making three All-Star teams and earning a four-year, $66 million free-agent contract from the Mets.
Bay, for his part, is simply looking to provide a few more victories for the team with the worst record in Major League Baseball.
"I'm not really trying to step in here and take over this team, per se," Bay said. "I'm just trying to help out."
Parnell receives good news on finger issue
NEW YORK -- An angiogram of reliever Bobby Parnell's blood stream revealed no aneurysm or other major irregularity, leading Mets team doctors to believe the reliever has a blood clot in or around his right hand. Though Parnell went on the 15-day disabled list Thursday as expected, the Mets do not anticipate him needing treatment beyond a regular regimen of aspirin.
"That's all good news," general manager Sandy Alderson said.
Prior to Thursday's angiogram, Parnell feared a more serious injury that could require surgery and extensive rehabilitation. Though the Mets have no timetable for Parnell's return, they do not consider his issue to be overly grim, and expect him to begin throwing again once his symptoms clear.
Parnell, who regularly throws in the upper 90s, had been experiencing numbness in his right middle finger for roughly a week before his symptoms worsened during Tuesday's game.
Young stays on track to possibly start Tuesday
NEW YORK -- Mets right-hander Chris Young threw three innings in a simulated game Thursday and felt no ill effects from his right biceps tendinitis, keeping him on track to return from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday in Washington.
"Signs are probably good that I didn't feel it at all, but I've learned not to make any predictions at this point, given my track record," Young said. "You just never know."
Young, who threw 57 pitches over a three-inning simulated game, is next scheduled to throw a routine between-starts bullpen session Saturday at Citi Field. If all goes well, he could slide back into the rotation for the second game of next week's series against the Nationals, likely bumping Dillon Gee back down to Triple-A.
"I thought each inning it got better," manager Terry Collins said of the simulated game. "It looks like his arm's a lot looser."
A quick return would be significant for Young, who has missed significant time with shoulder issues in each of the last three seasons.
"I'm a competitor," Young said. "I want to be out there competing. And I feel like when I'm out there, I can give our team a chance. That's the goal. It is hard sitting out. This wasn't how I had hoped it would be, but I can't change it."
Club wears spring gear under uniforms
NEW YORK -- Trying to capture some of what made them relatively successful in February and March, the Mets outfitted themselves Thursday with their Spring Training accessories.
Though Major League rules prohibit them from wearing anything other than their designated home or alternate jerseys at Citi Field, the Mets combined their home whites with black caps, socks and undershirts, all staples of Spring Training.
"It's not a big deal," Collins said. "But we played good in those black shirts with the white tops, and we're going to wear those suckers again tonight."
The Mets won 17 of their 32 Grapefruit League games this spring, compared to five of their first 18 regular-season games.
First baseman Nick Evans hit two home runs, including a walk-off, in Game 1 of Triple-A Buffalo's doubleheader Thursday against Rochester. Evans, who has three home runs in 13 games, was the last player cut this spring. ... The Mets' 1-8 record at Citi Field is their worst through nine home games in franchise history, one game worse than the 1962 and '81 teams. ... After second baseman Brad Emaus cleared Rule 5 waivers Thursday, the Blue Jays accepted him back for a $25,000 fee and assigned him to Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Backup catcher Ronny Paulino, who is scheduled to come off the disabled list Tuesday in Washington, went 0-for-4 with two throwing errors in Game 1 of a doubleheader, 0-for-2 with a walk as a designated hitter in Game 2 on Thursday for Triple-A Buffalo.