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Former hitting coach Howard Johnson says benching Jason Bay is “ridiculous”

Jun 11, 2011, 9:32 PM EDT

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Jason Bay was back in the starting lineup tonight against the Pirates following a brief two-game absence. In fact, he snapped his career-worst 0-for-24 hitless streak with a bloop single in the fourth inning. But former Mets hitting coach Howard Johnson told the New York Post that the struggling outfielder shouldn’t have been benched in the first place.

“It’s ridiculous it’s come to that,” the former Mets hitting coach said by phone yesterday. “If he’s supposed to be part of the solution, I don’t see the point of taking him out of the equation. It’s sending him mixed messages. I don’t care if he’s 0-for-50, you’re not going to get him relaxed by taking him out of the lineup.”

I assume Charlie Samuels wasn’t available for comment. I mean, he spent plenty of time in the Mets’ clubhouse last season, too, right? Let’s hear what he has to say about it.

Naturally, Mets manager Terry Collins wasn’t thrilled with Johnson’s commentary. According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, he fired back before tonight’s game against the Pirates.

“As soon as I showed up at the ballpark today, I was slapped in the face with Howard Johnson telling us we should play him and not bench him,” Collins said. “I don’t really call it a benching. I would call it more of a time off kind of thing. The other thing, and I think the world of Howard Johnson, but he hasn’t got all the facts. So he should be careful what he actually says when he doesn’t have all the facts.”

It’s not clear what Collins is alluding to here, but he did say before tonight’s game that Bay is going to be his regular left fielder moving forward. It seems like Bay was likely OK with the idea of sitting down for a couple days. Of course, I can’t say that for sure, but I’m pretty sure that Howard Johnson can’t either. We’re both speculating, after all.

  1. spudchukar - Jun 11, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    I always thought the appointment of Howard Johnson as hitting coach was odd. To his credit he was patient and productive. However, he was primarily known as a mistake hitter, with occasional power. What the Mets have lacked recently is situational hitting. One could argue that while Johnson’s approach might be advantageous to individual hitters, his philosophy is not conducive to winning baseball.

  2. seeingwhatsticks - Jun 12, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    Jason Bay is clearly not part of the solution, so that’s the fact that Johnson didn’t have.

    • Ari Collins - Jun 12, 2011 at 12:10 AM

      There’s a solution?

      • seeingwhatsticks - Jun 12, 2011 at 12:16 AM

        Maybe?

  3. Reggie's Bush - Jun 12, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    Solution is Mets fans putting money in a fund in order to pay an Irishman to take out his knees.

  4. halladaysbicepts - Jun 12, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    When Howard Johnson played, he used to cork his bats and was caught. This is the last guy I would want as a hitting coach.

    Ho Jo, why doen’t you send some of your old “special” bats to Bay to help his hitting?

    • tsi4431 - Jun 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM

      Bay would just strikeout swinging anyway. Hell, give him an aluminum bat, it still won’t help.

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