CINCINNATI — Jay Bruce still wore braces and the Reds still wore pinstripes in 2005. That’s when the Reds drafted Bruce in the first round, beginning an association that ended only this year when the Mets traded for the rightfielder.
So when Bruce returned to Great American Ball Park on Monday, the Reds welcomed him with a pregame ceremony and a video tribute, recapping the dozen years he spent in the organization.
“It was good,” said Bruce, who watched the ceremony with his wife and his young son. “It was a bit odd, especially coming here to the visiting side for the first time. But the Reds took a lot of time out to kind of welcome me back and thank me for the things I contributed here on and off the field. That was really nice. It’s what I’ve come to expect from the organization. It was a really, really nice gesture by them.”
That gesture before the Mets’ 5-0 victory also included a donation of $5,000 that will go toward Bruce’s annual charity golf tournament, which benefits people with special needs in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas.
“They treated me great the whole time I was here,” said Bruce, who went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts after hitting .421 in his previous five games.
Wilmer Flores collected three hits — two singles and a double — but made three outs on the bases. He was thrown out twice, stretching for a double and a triple, before getting doubled off first base on a liner. All three of his hits came against a righthander, starter Robert Stephenson . . . The Mets’ second wave of call-ups will arrive Tuesday. They include Brandon Nimmo, T.J. Rivera, Eric Campbell, Josh Edgin, Erik Goeddel, Rafael Montero and Gavin Cecchini. All have previous big-league experience except for shortstop Cecchini, a former first-round draft pick who posted a career-best .838 OPS with Triple-A Las Vegas this season.