DETROIT — Jose Reyes could be the first of the injured Mets to return. And when he does, he might temporarily reclaim his old job at shortstop.
Reyes is expected to play in a simulated game Monday before beginning a rehab assignment Tuesday, manager Terry Collins said Saturday.
Reyes, who has been on the disabled list since July 30 with a left oblique strain, is eligible to be activated Aug. 13. He hit .239 in 16 games — most of them as a third baseman — after rejoining the Mets on July 5.
With Asdrubal Cabrera sidelined because of a knee injury, Reyes will spend his rehab days playing shortstop. There is no timetable for Cabrera’s return.
Matt Reynolds and Wilmer Flores have started at shortstop since Cabrera went down.
Michael Conforto will return to the lineup Sunday, Collins said, after being benched Friday against a righthander. The Mets faced lefthander Matt Boyd on Saturday. Conforto is batting .109 vs. lefthanders, so switch hitter Ty Kelly started in left.
“There’s a fine line you’ve got to walk here,” Collins said. “Are we going to develop guys or are we going to put the best lineup that we think is going to allow us to win? And right now, we need to win some games. He’s not hitting lefties, so I put somebody in there I thought could get some hits against lefties. Again, we’ve got to win games.
“We all think the world of him. We all think he’s going to be a very good hitter, but he’s scuffling a little bit. I’ve got to put somebody out there that maybe can get some hits.”
Conforto, who is batting .221, is not a candidate for demotion to Triple-A, Collins said, even though the Mets are overloaded with lefthanded-hitting outfielders.
Bobby V to appear
Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine will be a guest bartender and will sign autographs at Foley’s at 18 W. 33rd St. in Manhattan on Monday from 7-9 p.m. Proceeds from food and drinks will be donated to the Forde Children’s Fund in memory of Mets public relations executive Shannon Forde.