- Last Updated: 10:11 AM, March 24, 2010
- Posted: 2:36 AM, March 24, 2010
PORT ST. LUCIE — Life is just gland again for the Mets.
With Jose Reyes’ thyroid levels back within normal range, the team announced yesterday that its All-Star shortstop is clear for baseball activities — and possibly in position for an Opening Day start.
Reyes will rejoin the club today after nearly three weeks sidelined by an overactive thyroid. Neither manager Jerry Manuel nor GM Omar Minaya would say for certain that Reyes will be ready for April 5 against the Marlins at Citi Field, but it’s clear the Mets’ worst fears concerning Reyes’ availability won’t be realized.
“To be honest, the way things have gone for us, you figured June,” Jeff Francoeur said, referring to the original prognosis that Reyes would need 2-8 weeks of rest before resuming baseball activities.
“Even if he doesn’t play the first three or four games, the fact we know he is [probably] going to be back by the end of Week 1 is huge.”
Reyes spent the last two weeks at home resting and monitoring his diet after tests in New York confirmed an earlier diagnosis of an overactive thyroid. The thyroid and the hormones it produces are responsible for regulating a person’s metabolism. As part of his diet, Reyes was prohibited from eating seafood, which contains iodine and can spike thyroid levels.
Manuel said it’s unlikely Reyes will make his Grapefruit League debut by the weekend, but the Mets are hopeful he can begin playing early next week, giving him perhaps 20-25 at-bats before the team arrives home on April 3.
The Mets do not want to rush Reyes given his history of hamstring problems.
“I know he’ll probably want to play [today], knowing Jose, but we’ll have to be very careful with him,” Manuel said. “This is a marathon, not a sprint. We need him for the majority of the baseball season.”
Manuel indicated he’ll likely scrap his plan of moving Reyes to third in the batting order in Carlos Beltran’s place, because he’d like to give Reyes a “sense of comfort” once he returns. That would mean Reyes in his usual leadoff spot with Luis Castillo or Daniel Murphy batting second.
The Mets hope this is the final chapter for Reyes in a spring that included a visit from federal investigators probing the activities of reputed HGH doctor Anthony Galea. Reyes said he received treatment from Galea last September, but was never injected with HGH.
Days after meeting with the feds, Reyes tripled during an intersquad scrimmage, showing off his wheels for the first time since undergoing hamstring/knee surgery last offseason.
But before he could make his Grapefruit League debut, blood tests revealed the elevated thyroid levels. Reyes was originally cleared to play, but Mets physicians wanted more information and summoned him to New York, where the original diagnosis of hyperthyroidism was upheld.
“Let’s get him back here,” Minaya said. “Let’s get that smile back on the team.”
Manuel said he will rely heavily on the team’s medical staff to determine at what pace they should move with Reyes.
“This is kind of foreign ground, because I don’t ever recollect a player not being able to do any physical activity and then going right into spring training,” Manuel said.
“I’ll try to call around and see if anyone has had a situation such as this and how they handled it.”