Jose Reyes was lying on the dirt near home plate, the pain in his shoulder obvious after a collision with Marlins pitcher A.J. Ramos.
It took Reyes a few minutes to get up. He walked off slowly with trainer Ray Ramirez.
And then Reyes was himself again, bounding through the dugout to the congratulations of his teammates after scoring the tying run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning of the Mets’ eventual 2-1, 10-inning win over the Marlins at Citi Field Monday night.
Yoenis Cespedes, who hit the walk-off home run in the 10th, said: “I think ever since Reyes arrived to the ballclub, he has been the engine to this team.”
Reyes, who sported an ice pack on his left shoulder after the game, gave the Mets what they needed when they were trailing 1-0: a spark. That he almost sacrificed his body to do it should come as no surprise.
Also no surprise: That Reyes is feeling pretty good about himself as the catalyst the Mets hoped for when they signed him to a minor-league deal on June 25 following his suspension for violating baseball’s domestic violence policy and subsequent release by the Rockies.
“I’m not surprised at all,” Reyes said. “I never doubted my talent, what I could do. I’m a hard worker and I try to get better every day. People before the Mets signed me said, ‘This guy’s done.’ I heard that. I’m just working as hard as I can to continue to contribute to this ballclub, to make things happen.”
Reyes made things happen in the eighth when he led off with a double to right. He moved to third on a deep fly to left by Alejandro De Aza and scored when Ramos heaved a fastball over the head of catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Reyes slid headfirst into home and was crushed by Ramos. Reyes was safe and remained in the game — much to the relief of manager Terry Collins, who had no healthy backup infielders.
“My first thought is, ‘Oh my God, who the hell am I going to play at shortstop?’ ” Collins said. “But I didn’t have to worry about it.”
Reyes, who started his second stint with the Mets as a third baseman, should see plenty of time at his natural position of shortstop. Asdrubal Cabrera is unable to run the bases or play defense because of a knee injury. Cabrera pinch hit Monday night, but if he had reached base would have come out for a pinch runner.
So Reyes, who is batting .281 after going 1-for-5, is the Mets’ shortstop again, for now.
“I talked to him the other day about taking a blow,” Collins said. “He said, ‘I’ve missed enough time already.’ The energy on the field, always having fun. The clubhouse — he’s a dynamic figure in that clubhouse. We’re lucky. We all certainly are glad he’s here. He’s a great teammate and I think he’s bringing something to our team, too.”