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Reyes optimistic about quick return to lineup

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes pushed himself harder during

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes pushed himself harder during Thursday's workout and he continues to feel optimistic he can be back in time for Opening Day. (Mar. 24, 2010) Photo Credit: Getty Images

JUPITER, Fla. - Jose Reyes reported for work Thursday with considerably less fanfare than the previous morning, but with the same teasing from his teammates.

When Reyes came back into the clubhouse after fielding grounders and taking batting practice, David Wright noticed a handful of reporters trailing the shortstop and jokingly said, "How long are you going to be doing this for?"

That's the question everyone would like to be able to answer at this point. Reyes admitted upon his arrival Wednesday that it was a little strange returning to baseball activity after spending the previous 20 days watching movies from his couch. But Thursday felt more normal, and Reyes even pushed himself with faster sprints.

His legs are the key, so when Reyes feels strong enough to push himself on the basepaths, that should be the final hurdle.

"I think I'm going to get it quickly because of what I put in the offseason," he said. "I think that's going to help me a lot.

"I'm very happy. We're going to continue to do more every single day, and hopefully I'll be on the field as soon as possible."

The Mets will not put a timetable on Reyes' return to the lineup, but Monday is a reasonable expectation, with the possibility that he still could be ready for Opening Day.

Calero cruises

The Mets would like to pencil in Kiko Calero to help straighten out their jumbled bullpen, and he helped his cause Thursday against the Cardinals. Calero struck out his first two batters in the seventh - both looking - and got a flyout for a 1-2-3 inning.

"I feel pretty good," said Calero, who was bothered by shoulder fatigue last season with the Marlins. When asked if he'd be ready for Opening Day, he added, "I have to make the team first."

Extra bases

A team official said the Mets planned to discuss Chad Gaudin, who was released Thursday by the Yankees . . . Frank Catalanotto, pushing for the last bench spot, started in left and went 1-for-2 with an RBI double.

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