Mike Baxter hasn’t exactly ripped the cover off the ball since returning from the disabled list.
Heading into Saturday night’s action, the outfielder had managed only three hits in his previous 15 at-bats. So Baxter, who was reinstated from the disabled list July 30 after suffering a broken collarbone and fractured rib cartilage while making a great catch to save Johan Santana’s June 1 no-hitter, simply hasn’t been getting it done.
But Terry Collins gave Baxter the start in rightfield Saturday night, hoping he’ll soon break out of his funk. Baxter went 1-for-2 before Jason Bay pinch hit for him in the seventh inning.
“He’s still fighting back from the rehab stuff,” Collins said. “I think Mike Baxter is going to be a very, very good baseball player here. He’s got great discipline, he’s a smart player. Right now, he doesn’t have that same bat speed that he had before he got hurt.
“And that’s only natural.”
Collins thinks the only way for Baxter to get that speed back is through more frequent plate appearances.
“Oh, yeah, he needs more at-bats,” Collins said, “more consistent at-bats to get to where he was before he got hurt.
“And we are certainly going to get him those at-bats if we can.”