The Mets did not immediately put Jose Reyes on the disabled list yesterday after returning from the West Coast. But they could always change their minds before tonight's series opener against the Red Sox if he does not show any improvement in his aching right knee.
Reyes flew to Boston with the team following Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Dodgers in Los Angeles, then quickly flew New York, where he had an MRI at the Hospital for Special Surgery early yesterday. The test revealed tendinitis behind the shortstop's right knee, which confirmed the same diagnosis he received Monday in LA.
As a result, Reyes will rejoin the Mets at Fenway Park today, but he is not expected to be in the lineup. He missed five games with the mysterious condition during the trip and didn't even make it through 12 innings before he had to be removed again.
Reyes aggravated the injury Wednesday trying to beat out a grounder. He took a few steps, stopped, then walked slowly to the dugout before being taken out. "I've been feeling it all the time," Reyes said afterward. "It's not feeling right at all."
With Carlos Delgado sidelined until late July, and Gary Sheffield unable to play for two games in LA because of an undisclosed illness, the Mets needed Reyes to boost a sagging lineup. He went 1-for-4 in his first game back Tuesday and was hitless in two at-bats before he limped off the field the following night.
The Mets could simply wait to put Reyes on the DL before tonight's game and recall another bat, such as Fernando Martinez, to fortify a lineup that has not homered in 69 innings, the team's longest drought since 2003. If they went that route, it would leave Ramon Martinez and Fernando Tatis as the only shortstops, since Alex Cora is already on the DL with his right thumb in a splint.
Whatever they decide, manager Jerry Manuel looked exasperated when asked after Wednesday's game about replacing Reyes. Would Martinez be the long-term solution? The Mets really don't have any solid candidates in the minors, which is why Martinez is here. "That I don't know," Manuel said. "We have to find out what we have."