Jason Bay could return from disabled list as soon as Tuesday

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According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Jason Bay could be activated from the disabled list for Tuesday’s series opener against the Astros at Citi Field. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said earlier this week that Bay would return from the disabled list no sooner than April 26.

Bay has been sidelined since the end of spring training due to a strained left intercostal muscle during his rib cage. He went 0-for-2 with a walk in an extended spring training game yesterday and will play in minor league rehab games with High-A St. Lucie today and tomorrow.

Mets left fielders are batting just .220/.316/.360 with a .676 OPS over  50 at-bats during Bay’s absence, so their offense could certainly use the boost.

Bay disappointed in his first year with the Mets last season by batting .259/.347/.402 with six homers and 47 RBI over 401 plate appearances. He missed the final two months of the season with a concussion.

Michael Wacha leaves game with a left oblique strain

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Cardinals starter Michael Wacha suffered a strained left oblique muscle during his start this afternoon against the Phillies, causing him to leave in the fourth inning.

Wacha is 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA and a 71/36 K/BB ratio in 84.1 innings across 15 starts this season with St. Louis. To the extent he has to miss some time — and obliques invariably send starters to the disabled list — potential fill-in candidates include John Gant, Daniel Poncedeleon and Dakota Hudson.