MCU Park is becoming a home away from home for Mets infielder Jose Reyes.
Reyes played two games with the Cyclones on Aug. 11 and 12 — his second stint in Coney Island this summer — as part of his rehab assignment after returning from a left oblique strain that kept him sidelined for nearly two weeks. It wasn’t Citi Field, but the crowd cheered when Reyes stepped up to the plate, and the former all-star fed off that energy.
“I got to swing,” Reyes said of what he enjoyed most about his first game back. “There’s no complaints — it was a good game. It’s good for me to see everything go well.”
It was Reyes’s second appearance on the Cyclones this summer. He played at MCU Park on June 27 and 28 after the Mets signed him to a minor league deal following his release from the Rockies. Reyes returned to Citi Field on July 5, but played in just 16 games before suffering this latest set-back.
Reyes got the call to head to Brooklyn on Aug. 10 and the former all-star said he was happy to return to Coney Island — and anxious to get a bat back in his hands.
In his 16 games with the Mets, Reyes hit .239 with three home runs, but the switch-hitter struggled connecting from the right side after sustaining the strain. But he didn’t feel any discomfort in Brooklyn and hoped to use his time with the Clones to see a handful of different looks at the plate, he said.
“I’ve been hitting in batting practice,” Reyes said. “I mean, just swing the bat as much as I can. Whether it’s from the left side or the right side, just swing the bat. We’ll go from there.”
Reyes didn’t record a hit in his first game back on Aug. 11, but he did work a pair of walks and stole second twice — something Clones skipper Tom Gamboa was particularly impressed with.
“It’s good that he established his health in the game and stole a couple of bags, because he’s on his own,” Gamboa said. “He saw some pitches, which is the main thing to get his eye, because he’s been out for awhile.”
Reyes connected on a pair of hits in his second game with the Clones and actually returned to the Mets a day ahead of schedule, joining the lineup at Citi Field on Aug. 13.
Reyes’ season has been jam-packed with headlines. He began the year with a domestic violence suspension, but his return to the Mets was celebrated by many fans hoping he could help spark the squad’s lineup. His first two games with the Clones drew some of the biggest crowds at MCU Park all summer.
This time in Brooklyn, however, Reyes said things were a bit easier and the lights coming off the Boardwalk weren’t quite as blinding.
“I feel more comfortable now because [the last time] I wasn’t doing anything, I was sitting at home,” Reyes said. “I mean there’s no pressure, I just want to be good.”
Reyes exclusively played at third during both of his Brooklyn stints, but he will likely receive the majority of starts at shortstop with the Mets. He doesn’t care where he plays, Reyes just wants to win.
“I want to contribute everything I can. I want to win again,” he said. “I know we’re not in a good situation, but I hope we can turn it around sooner or later.”