- Last Updated: 2:45 PM, March 24, 2010
- Posted: 2:38 AM, March 24, 2010
PORT ST. LUCIE — Their luck has changed for the better, finally. There are no more excuses for the Mets. The pity party is over with the news that Jose Reyes is returning to the club today, cleared for all baseball activities.
The Mets have their buzz back.
“We got our leadoff hitter; we got our team,” right fielder Jeff Francoeur said after blasting a home run in a 7-6 Grapefruit League win over the Braves yesterday. “As far as I’m concerned, as long as nothing’s prolonged or there is trouble, he needs to be in there Opening Day.”
Let’s get it started: Jose Reyes batting leadoff and playing shortstop.
Until yesterday, being a Met meant always having to say you’re sorry. Weird injuries and ailments lingered for months.
“To be honest, the way things have gone for us, you figured June,” Francoeur said when asked his initial expectations when Reyes was sidelined.
But Reyes’ hyperthyroid condition settled down with rest, just as doctors said it would.
“I’m feeling better,” Reyes told The Post on Monday. “I’ll be back, hopefully soon.”
Less than 24 hours later he was cleared to resume baseball activities. What’s next? Maybe center fielder Carlos Beltran will return to the club the first week of May?
Jerry Manuel said this latest health saga basically ends the idea of having Reyes bat third in the lineup. Good move, Jerry. Originally that idea was worth trying with Beltran out, but the Mets must not tempt fate.
Put Reyes at leadoff and leave him there. Reyes is a tremendous leadoff hitter; you could see how David Wright was lost without him last year. It’s time for the Mets to get back to baseball basics. Too often, as an organization, the Mets make life much too difficult for themselves.
They see danger at every door instead of seeing opportunity.
Put Reyes at leadoff and let him do his thing; just make sure his legs are in running shape before he is given that green light.
Don’t re-invent the wheel. While they are at it, the Mets need to put flame-thrower Jenrry Mejia on this team — he was spectacular again yesterday. Give the right-hander the eighth inning from the start. Mejia hit 97 mph on the gun yesterday. That’s good enough for me. Use him like Mariano Rivera, circa 1996.
Manuel still plans on breaking the kid in easy, but you don’t need to do that with Mejia. He has more confidence and more stuff than anybody in the Mets bullpen other than Francisco Rodriguez.
The Mets need to let their athletes be athletes.
Manuel was thrilled with the Reyes news.
“It sure is good to have him back,” he said.
Manuel then talked about being cautious with Reyes because of his past leg issues. Reading between the lines, that means Reyes could have a short, back-dated stint on the DL if he shows he is not 100 percent come April 5.
Don’t plan on that. Reyes will arrive today raring to go after two weeks on his couch. He said as much on Monday.
“I can’t wait to get back,” he said. “Everything is going good so far, so let’s see what happens.”
Remember how the Mets opened this camp with big dreams, and Wright talking about winning it all. Those dreams went out the window when it looked like Reyes could be lost for an extended period of time.
They’re back talking big.
In answering a question about Ike Davis, who was sent down yesterday, Manuel said he would have no problem bringing Davis back up to be “part of a championship season.”
It all starts with Reyes. Manuel and Wright know that.
“To be the team we want to be, we have to have a healthy Jose Reyes,” Wright said. “That’s not a knock against the guys who are filling in for him, but he is just a special type player. He’s a game changer.”
The pity party is over. Let’s see what happens.