Pirates Notebook: Bay feels at home in PNC Park
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It might have taken Jason Bay a minute or two to figure out which way he needed to turn once he walked into PNC Park Friday.
For parts of six seasons, Bay called PNC Park home. And, for the first time since a trade sent him out of town in 2008, he returned to the North Shore as a member of an opposing team.
"That's really the only difference -- coming to this side," said Bay, an outfielder for the New York Mets. "For the most part, it kind of all seems the same. When you've done that for so long, when you walk in, you've done this before. Coming in [the visitor's clubhouse] is kind of different."
Bay did not start Friday night after asking Mets manager Terry Collins for a couple nights off to try and regroup from an 0-for-23 slump that has dropped his batting average this season to .259. He played parts of six seasons with the Pirates, winning the National League rookie of the year award in '04 and earning two All-Star selections, including a starting spot in the '06 game at PNC Park.
Bay was traded to Boston in '08 in a move that brought four players to Pittsburgh, none of whom currently play for the Pirates. He signed with the Mets in '10 but was injured when New York visited here last year.
Only two current Pirates -- currently injured catcher Ryan Doumit and starting pitcher Paul Maholm -- were regulars when Bay last played here.
"Had I known more people over on the other side, I might grab a drink or have lunch with those guys," Bay said.
He said he is glad to return to Pittsburgh.
"I feel like I've spent a lot of time defending the city of Pittsburgh," Bay said. "I really enjoyed my time here. I've got a laundry list -- good school system, great cost of living, good people -- this thing that I've always got to go through when people still have that old steel mill perception of it."
The Pirates moved catcher Chris Snyder from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list Friday. Snyder sustained an injury to his lower back Wednesday while running the bases against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
He underwent surgery Friday morning at Allegheny General Hospital.
"We're optimistic that he can come back and play before the season's over," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
With reliever Evan Meek back on the disabled list, the Pirates have enough shelved players -- nine -- to field a team, but that's old hat to a veteran manager such as Hurdle.
"I've been through it before," he said. "The game provides challenges. One thing it does, it gives you a very good idea of your depth. It also gives your general manager a chance to be creative with the personnel you can bring up and piece together."
He said he has reiterated to his players there is no need to worry.
"We're not going there. I'll never go there. I've just been involved in too much, seen too much," Hurdle said
Reliever Daniel McCutchen's confidence is at an all-time high.
"It's up there," he said. "A 10 [out of 10]."
The right-hander picked up the win Wednesday night, throwing two scoreless innings in the Pirates' 3-2, 12-inning victory against Arizona. That was just the most recent successful outing for McCutchen, 28.
He is 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 25 relief appearances this season. He had a 6.12 ERA in 28 appearances in '10 and a 4.21 ERA in six appearances in '09. He credits his improvement to a change in mentality.
"I'm really trying to go after guys, not give guys too much credit," he said. "I know if I can make my pitch, more times than not they're going to get out. Just simplifying pitching instead of complicating it."
First Published June 11, 2011 12:00 am