PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Jose Reyes and David Wright, together again, side by side, on the left side of the Mets’ infield, just like old times? Such a reunion once seemed impossible. But now with Reyes’ return, and Wright recovering from back surgery, the dream scenario may indeed become a reality this season.
“I can’t wait for that happen,” Reyes said Friday morning at Tradition Field. “I never imagined that I was going to be in this situation again. To be here, play again with the New York Mets, and be here with D. Wright. He’s my big brother, so we got a lot of love for each other. To be here in the same locker room with him, it’s like I can’t still believe it.”
The two missed each other last year, as the Mets signed Reyes to replace the injured Wright, who left for season-ending back surgery before his buddy returned to Flushing. Released by the Rockies, Reyes was coming off a 52-game suspension for domestic violence allegations when the Mets signed him to the major-league minimum, and extended him at that rate through 2017.
Reyes batted .267 with eight homers, nine stolen bases and a .326 on-base percentage over 60 games, including 50 starts at third and 10 at shortstop. This season, however, Reyes will have the benefit of a full spring training rather than starting from scratch midseason.
“It’s way more easy,” Reyes said. “At this time last year, I was in New York, working out. This year, I’m here focused on baseball. So it’s going to be a huge difference for me because I’m able to be at spring training since the first day. Last year, I wasn’t able to do that at all, it was kind of frustrating. But this year, I’m here, ready to go, so I can’t wait to be on the field and do whatever Terry [Collins] asks me to do.”
One of those things will be getting reps in centerfield, another position the Mets want to prepare Reyes for this year. And that won’t be quite as simple as sliding over to third base.
“It’s a new position for me,” Reyes said. “Last year was a little bit different because third base is in the infield Now it’s the outfield. It’s not the same. But I got the right mindset. I’m going to work every day and try to go from there. I don’t try to put too much stuff in my head.”
Along those lines, Reyes already has consulted with Juan Lagares, the Mets’ resident Gold Glove centerfielder. His advice?
“You have to be ready to run — it’s a lot of gap there,” Reyes said Lagares told him. “I’m healthy, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”