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Bay back to cleanup spot

Jason Bay #44 of the New York Mets

Jason Bay #44 of the New York Mets grounds out in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics. (June 22, 2011) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

ARLINGTON, Texas — Terry Collins returned Jason Bay to the cleanup spot Friday against the Rangers’ Matt Harrison and the manager suggested it could be a regular occurrence against lefthanded starters. Bay went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts Wednesday in the No. 4 hole, but Collins remains undeterred.

“I know he had a bad day the other day hitting behind Carlos , but he’s still a dangerous guy,” Collins said. “He’s still a threat. They know it, everybody knows it, so you got to pitch him careful. If you’re going to just pitch around Carlos, he can do some damage.”

That’s the plan, anyway. Bay was batting .302 (13-for-43) in his previous 11 games and showed signs of emerging from his slump with Tuesday’s 3-for-3 performance, which included his first home run since May 13, ending a career drought of 103 at-bats.

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