Jason Bay says his newfound revival with the Mariners boils down to his accepting "the evolution of a career" that no longer sees him playing daily. Bay played his first game in New York on Tuesday since being released from his contract by the New York Mets last winter. He signed with Seattle and entered Tuesday with a .253 batting average, four home runs and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .813 in 75 at-bats. After a slow start in his new bench role with the Mariners, Bay has turned it on to the point where he's earned more regular playing time. "I feel a little more comfortable, at least in my preparation and in my role," Bay told a gathering of mainly New York-based reporters before the game. "At the beginning of the year, I talked a lot to Raul (Ibanez). Him and I, the first few games, we were on the bench, and I was like, man, knowing now this was my role, I was asking 'What do you do?' "It was more like formulating a plan because I knew early on I wasn't going to play," Bay added. "I might get in there to pinch-run, for defense, hit here or there. So, it was just when to be ready, how to be ready. And that was kind of a process and I feel I got a handle on that." Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Bay appears to have adapted well after so many years as an everyday starter. "I'm trying to get him in there as much as I can against left-handers, he's been given some opportunities against some right-handers," Wedge said. "And he's made some real adjustments. He's done some things to right himself a little bit and it's paid off for us in terms of his production." Wedge said he didn't worry about Bay's adjustment to a part-time role because the two have communicated often about when the playing time would come. Wedge tried to get Bay and other backups in as often as possible early so that if injuries did necessitate a bigger role — as they now have — "they wouldn't be starting from scratch." Bay's former Mets team would gladly have taken his current numbers in any of his past three injury-plagued seasons in New York. Bay says he still follows his former club, keeps in touch with some former teammates and wishes things could have gone differently. "Obviously, I was trying to do the things you think you can do," Bay said. "Somewhere along the line, it wasn't happening. It wasn't for a lack of trying. I tried everything."
Jason Bay has grown more productive and more comfortable in new role
Seattle Times | May 15