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Mets leftfield still belongs to Bay

Jason Bay #44 of the New York Mets

Jason Bay #44 of the New York Mets strikes out to end the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies. (May 27, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

ATLANTA — Jason Bay returned to the lineup yesterday as Terry Collins made assurances that his job is not in jeopardy. The manager benched Bay the previous night against Jair Jurrjens, his fourth game off in nine days, but Collins wanted to dispel the notion that he would now be sharing the position.

“Obviously, he’s the leftfielder here, hands down,” Collins said. “There should be no discussion about that. He’s going to play the majority of the time. He’s putting the work in, so there might be times he gets a little fatigued from all the work he’s doing. It’s hard to say. But Jason Bay is going to be the leftfielder on this team.”

Collins used Willie Harris over Bay on Tuesday, citing his 7-for-14 success against Jurrjens, and it paid off as Harris reached base three times and scored once. The manager could have been tempted to try a heavily lefthanded lineup again with Tim Hudson starting for the Braves. But Bay is 5-for-15 with a homer against Hudson, so it made sense giving him another shot at redemption.

“I’m trying to get this guy going,” Collins said. “I truly believe you got to battle through all these things. But there is that thing where you’ve got to have some confidence on the field.”

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