Posted on July 5, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The New York Mets announced late Monday that Jose Reyes will be called up and make his official return to the team, and the big leagues, Tuesday night when the Mets host the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Reyes was designated for assignment last month by the Colorado Rockies following a suspension for an incident of domestic violence during the offseason. The Mets signed him to a minor league contract within hours of Reyes becoming a free agent.
The timing of his return is a bit puzzling, as manager Terry Collins announced before Monday afternoon’s game against the Marlins that Reyes would not be activated on Tuesday. However, hours after the team’s win over Miami, the Mets announced that Reyes was indeed making his return to Queens.
The timing is also odd because Reyes is expected to get a lion’s share of the playing time at third base, and current third baseman Wilmer Flores may be on the verge of a hot streak after going 6 for 6 with two home runs Sunday against the Chicago Cubs. Flores, of course, is capable of playing all four infield positions and should still see time as a back up at all four spots.
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After signing with the Mets, Reyes played two games for the team’s short-season affiliate in Brooklyn before playing nine games with the team’s double-A affiliate. In those nine games at double-A, Reyes hit just .207 with one double and one stolen base. He only played third base defensively during that time, and reports on his defense have been positive. Former Mets great and current minor league coach Edgardo Alfonzo has helped the longtime shortstop make the adjustment defensively. The Mets have also said they may expose Reyes to the outfield once he returns to the majors to increase his versatility.
Collins says he will put Reyes in the leadoff spot, where Reyes spent many years as the catalyst for New York’s lineup. Curtis Granderson, who has been the team’s primary leadoff hitter this season, will move to the no. 2 hole. Collins managed Reyes in 2011, which was the skipper’s first with the Mets and Reyes’ final season in New York before signing with the Marlins.
David Wright, whose neck injury has created a hole at third base for the Mets, is excited to have his friend and former teammate back in New York. “He’s going to bring us a ton of energy,” Wright said last week when he told the media he’s unlikely to return to the field this season. “And I think that’s something we can really use is his dynamic on the field — his speed, his charisma, his ability.”
At the same time, Wright also admonished Reyes over last October’s domestic violence incident. “I feel like what he did was awful, terrible. There’s just no other way around it,” Wright said. “What he did is something that is horrible and should never be done. So I hope that he’s learned his lesson. In everything he said, it seems like he’s acknowledged the great mistake that it was and that he’s not going to let it happen again, and I hope that’s correct.”
Wright is glad Reyes is getting a second chance, and that it’s coming with the Mets. On Tuesday night, Reyes will be in a Mets jersey for the first time since walking off the field on the last day of the 2011 season as the National League batting champion. A lot has happened since then, and what will happen when Reyes makes his official return to the Mets Tuesday and in the days to follow is anyone’s guess.