Bay plays through flu-like symptoms
CHICAGO — Not only didn’t outfielder Jason Bay participate in the All-Star Game, he nearly was held out of the Pirates’ first game back after the break.
Manager Lloyd McClendon considered sitting Bay, the Pirates’ lone All-Star representative, for the game Thursday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs because of flu-like symptoms.
Upon returning from his two-day trip to Detroit, Bay was sick enough that he was the only Pirates player not to take part in a mandatory workout Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.
Although Bay’s name was penciled into the lineup yesterday morning, McClendon strongly considered shifting Rob Mackowiak from third base to center field and starting Freddy Sanchez at third.
As it was, Bay recovered sufficiently in time to start his 88th game this season. He is the only Pirates player to start every game.
“It’s nothing bad,” Bay said. “I feel a lot better.”
Still, Bay didn’t pick an opportune time to feel under the weather. A 1-for-18 slump entering the break had dragged his batting average to .299. He didn’t help matters yesterday by going 0 for 4 before being lifted in an eighth-inning double switch.
Bay didn’t know how — or when — he got sick. He figured it happened during the two days of hustle and bustle he encountered at the All-Star festivities.
“There was a lot of stuff going on, and you don’t eat as much or get as much sleep as you need,” he said. “I think I was a little overloaded.”
Despite being the only position player from either side not to get into the All-Star Game and despite being shut out in the Home Run Derby, Bay had nothing but good things to say about his inaugural All-Star experience.
“I wouldn’t change anything for the world,” he said, “but it’s nice to get back to normalcy and into the regular routine.”
Bay has not set any goals for the second half other than to continue starting every game.
“Numbers-wise, I’m not trying to stamp anything on the second half,” he said. “If you go out there every day, the rest of the stuff will take care of itself. You just have to stay healthy and be prepared.”