Benched last night for the third time in six games Jason Bay offered up a very reasonable response when questioned afterward by reporters, noting that it’s tough to complain much about not being in the lineup when you’re hitting .207.
I’m a realist. I’m not playing that well. That’s just the reality of it. Had I been out there hitting .500, I think I’d have a little more reason to have a little more say. It’s the way it is.
Terry Collins sat Bay in order to get Willie Harris into the lineup versus Braves starter Jair Jurrjens, against whom lefties have fared much better than righties and Harris was 7-for-14. And it worked, as Harris went 1-for-2 with two walks and a stolen base while the Mets scored four runs in 5.1 innings off Jurrjens.
However, if Collins is now willing to sit Bay versus tough right-handed pitchers that’s actually a more extreme stance than simply benching him for a few games, as it means regular time on the bench. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York asked Bay whether he felt Collins’ usage of him had changed, to which Bay replied: “I just work here.”
And for quite a while longer, too. Bay is making $16 million this season and is also under contract for $16 million in 2012 and 2013, with a $17 million option or $3 million buyout for 2014.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.