MILWAUKEE -- With "Don't Trade Jose" rallies at Citi Field, the fans have made it pretty clear where they stand regarding the Mets' coveted shortstop. But no one has been a bigger admirer of Jose Reyes than his manager, who gushed about him after Tuesday night's game-winning triple and continued the lovefest Wednesday.

When asked if anyone had told him to throttle back on the praise, given Reyes' pending free agency, Collins smiled.

"I'm a proponent of him playing," he said. "I'm not trying to get into the contract situation."

Good idea. Those talks will probably go north of $100 million, and with the Mets' financial problems, it's sure to be a sticky issue with ownership. But Collins' sole concern is to win games -- his own job depends on it -- and no one has been more crucial to that than Reyes.

On Tuesday night, Reyes became only the third player to reach 11 triples in his team's first 60 games, joining Rod Carew ('77 Twins) and Curtis Granderson ('07) Tigers.

"His love to play the game, his enthusiasm, his energy -- I haven't seen it before," Collins said. "I haven't seen anybody do it on a nightly basis, and play the position he plays? It just doesn't stop. Really impressive."

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Collins also was asked if he hears the pro-Reyes chants. "You've got to," he said. "If you're at the ballpark, you hear it. I haven't got a sign though. I saw someone kicked out with a sign."


Extra bases

Carlos Beltran still has remnants of a small bruise on the inside of his right shin, but said his leg is improving. Collins said Beltran gets 45 minutes of treatment daily . . . Upon hearing that Francisco Rodriguez had lost 15 pounds after having two teeth pulled last week, Collins said, "We'll be cramming some food down his throat here. We'll get him some bacon and stuff."