Jason Bay back in the lineup for the first time since concussion

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There are lineup cards being tweeted left and right this morning, but one of the more overlooked names is Jason Bay. As noted by Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Bay is in the Mets’ lineup today for the first time since suffering a concussion last July in Los Angeles.

We haven’t heard as much about Bay as his friend and fellow countryman Justin Morneau this offseason, but that’s because the 32-year-old outfielder has actually felt symptom-free for a while now.

“I don’t feel any different,” Bay said. “I really haven’t thought any differently. It’s just another game. I’ve felt good for a while. Spring training has been normal. I kind of expect the first game to feel normal, too.”

Signed to a four-year, $66 million contract last January, Bay struggled miserably in his first season with the Mets, batting just .259/.347/.402 with six home runs, 47 RBI and a .749 OPS over 401 plate appearances. The Mets probably won’t contend this season, but rebound seasons from players like Bay and Carlos Beltran could at least give them one of the more potent offenses in the National League.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.