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Bay saves his home runs for games -- not batting practice

Outfielder Jason Bay signed a four-year deal with

Outfielder Jason Bay signed a four-year deal with the Mets in the offseason. Photo Credit: Getty

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Don't be alarmed if you show up early for the April 5 opener and Jason Bay isn't denting the seats at Citi Field before the game against the Marlins.

"I'm a horrendous BP home-run hitter," Bay said.

The subject came up Sunday because Bay was asked about his first spring training look at Citi Field - or at least the chain-link replica the Mets built here to enclose Field 7. Bay took batting practice there Sunday with fellow outfielders Angel Pagan, Gary Matthews Jr. and Jeff Francoeur.

"It didn't seem like the massive, imposing figure everybody painted it to be," Bay said. "I may eat my words later."

Bay had limited exposure to the real Citi Field last year when the Red Sox visited for a pair of exhibition games. He's used to a high leftfield wall - albeit a closer one - from his stay at Fenway Park, and the Mets signed Bay, in part, because they believe his swing is well-suited to clearing the faraway fences at Citi.

The loft that Bay gets off the bat is not a coincidence. He talked about how he hits primarily using his hands - less of his lower body than most - and Bay focused on creating "lift" with his swings during batting practice.

That didn't translate to a fireworks show Sunday. Bay stayed mostly toward centerfield, and Pagan and Francoeur smacked long drives over the high wall in left.

"I actually got talking to Francoeur about it," Bay said. "He said if you stick to left-center to leftfield, it plays like anywhere else. But if you got illusions of hitting 30 home runs, he was like, save it."

Extra bases

The Mets will have their first and only intrasquad game at 11 a.m. Monday before Tuesday's Grapefruit League opener against the Braves at Tradition Field . . . Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez threw bullpen sessions to Henry Blanco. Santana is close to Blanco, a fellow Venezuelan, but Jerry Manuel is uncertain if he will use him as his personal catcher . . . K-Rod, still dealing with highly contagious pinkeye, expects to see a doctor Monday for clearance to have more regular interaction with his teammates.

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