CINCINNATI — Jose Reyes last played leftfield when he was a teenager in rookie ball with Kingsport back in 2000. It didn’t take long Tuesday night for that fact to be exposed.
In the second inning of the Mets’ 14-4 loss to the Reds, Billy Hamilton lifted a fly ball to left. Reyes’ first move was to break in, though he realized almost immediately that the ball was over his head. On the mound, rookie Chris Flexen threw up his right hand in exasperation, frustrated over a sure out that turned into a double.
Although the miscue didn’t cost the Mets a run, it had already been a rough night for Flexen. The righty fell to 3-3 with a 6.89 ERA in seven starts since making the jump straight to the big leagues from Double-A Binghamton. He was charged with seven runs in 4 2⁄3 innings, the biggest blow coming in the first when Scott Schebler hit a grand slam.
But for the Mets, these are the kind of experiments they can afford to run, especially in games pitting a pair of teams racing to the bottom of the standings. So, Reyes patrolled leftfield, making a mess of his only chance to make a play before being moved back to shortstop in the sixth.
“I thought if we’re going to put him out there, put him in a place where it’s a little bit easier to roam around,” Mets manager Terry Collins said before the game. “It’s a smaller park. We’ll see how he does. We’ve got to find out and get him out there.”
Until last night, Reyes’ big-league experience in the outfield consisted of one inning in centerfield earlier this season.
Notes & quotes: Jeurys Familia tossed 1 2⁄3 scoreless innings in his second appearance since coming off the disabled list . . . Rookie Dominic Smith ended an 0-for-11 skid with a two-run single in the fifth. He began the night hitting .161 but had two hits . . . Reliever Chasen Bradford allowed seven runs (five earned) on six hits and did not retire a batter in the eighth. He had a 13-inning scoreless streak dating to Aug. 4 . . . Backup catcher Kevin Plawecki took over with the bases loaded in the eighth and induced a double play. He finished with a scoreless inning in his second relief appearance of the season . . . Michael Conforto (shoulder) was scheduled to receive a second opinion on a left shoulder injury that may require surgery. The Mets are expected to release an update today . . . Matt Harvey had his scheduled bullpen session bumped back to today . . . Major League Baseball made no official announcement about where the Mets would play the Astros beginning on Friday, though Collins said he’d be “surprised” if the games are played in hurricane-ravaged Houston.