Two veteran Mariners outfielders on decidedly different paths returned to New York for the first time since leaving their respective teams this past off-season to sign with Seattle. Jason Bay was a flop with the New York Mets but has since revived his career with the Mariners, entering tonight with a .253 batting average, four homers and an on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS) of .813.
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Raul Ibanez, on the other hand, was a playoff hero when he left the New York Yankees but has since struggled in Seattle, batting .194 with an OPS of .653.
“I feel a little more comfortable, at least in my preparation and in my role,” Bay told a large media throng that held court in the visiting team’s dugout a short while ago. “At the beginning of the year, I talked a lot to Raul (Ibanez). Him and I, the first few games, we were on the bench and I was like, man, knowing now, this was my role, I was asking ‘What do you do?’ It was more like formulating a plan because I knew early on I wasn’t going to play. I might get in there to pinch-run, for defense, hit here or there. So, it was just when to be ready, how to be ready. And that was kind of a process and I feel I got a handle on that.”
Bay says he now feels he’s ready for anything he’s needed for. He views it as “the evolution of a career” that bottomed out here in New York and led to the Mets releasing him with a year still to go on his contract.
Bay has given the situation plenty of thought. And naturally, he was asked about it by New York media members.
“Obviously, I was trying to do the things you think you can do,” he said. “Somewhere along the line, it wasn’t happening. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. I tried everything. It was to the point where I turned down offers from some clubs for more playing time to go to Seattle and be close to home and see how that worked.More