The words were clearly hard for Jose Reyes to say and probably just as hard for Mets fans to hear: “I am kind of lost a little right now,” he said. “This is the first time I am going through this in my long career.”
His painful words speak to the weight of Reyes’ season-opening slump. He got a shot to break out of it in the bottom of the sixth against the Nationals on Tuesday night, failed miserably and now is 0-for-17 on the season.
The Mets had runners on the corners with one out when manager Mickey Callaway had Reyes hit for Zack Wheeler. He couldn’t get Juan Legares the final 90 feet as he struck out and looked fooled by lefthander Sammy Solis’ pitch. The Mets ended up stranding both runners and two more in both the seventh and eighth in the 5-2 loss at Citi Field.
“I was in-between. I was looking for a strike and he made a very good pitch,” Reyes said. “I tried to put a good swing on it and I wasn’t able to do that.”
Reyes led the team in at-bats last season but was brought back this year on a $2-million deal to be a reserve. It’s very new to him and he said “pinch hitting is tough. I used to play every single day, so I need to adjust to my new role. I am going to feel it out. I know it’s not easy for me, but I’ll find a way.”
Callaway sees Reyes as a proven commodity and added “he’s a guy that’s been around for a long time and he’ll make the adjustment . . . I am sure he is not happy with what he’s done so far, but we have faith in him and we’ll get him going.”
Reyes almost always could count on another at-bat coming in a game, another chance, before this season. The limited opportunities, combined with the results, sound as if they’re taking a toll.
“When you pinch hit, it’s only one at-bat. You don’t get the opportunity to go one more time to try to contribute for your team,” Reyes said. “We have one opportunity. It’s kind of hard. I’m putting a little bit of pressure on myself, but I am going to find a way.
“It’s still early for me and I am learning the new role I am in and I believe in what I can do. I’ve been working hard to try to come through for this team.”
Sign up for Newsday’s Mets Messages for updates directly to your phone via text, free with a Newsday digital subscription. Learn more at newsday.com/metstext.