Whether it was batting from the right side, left side, upside down or inside out, the Mets had to be happy to have Jose Reyes back in his customary leadoff spot Tuesday. But they must have been overjoyed when the Cincinnati Reds opted to have lefthander Matt Maloney take the mound instead of righty Aaron Harang, who went on the DL with lower back spasms before the game.
The switch-hitting Reyes batted strictly righthanded and was 2-for-4 with a run scored in the Mets' 3-0 win. He had not played in the previous six games since injuring his right oblique June 30 in Puerto Rico.
"I feel good tonight," said Reyes, who will also bat righthanded in tonight's third game in the series with the Reds against righthanded starter Bronson Arroyo. "I was a little scared in my first at-bat, I don't know what's gonna happen there. But after that I got my confidence back. I felt very good, from the right side at least."
Reyes reached on an infield single in the third and showed no ill-effects changing direction and speeding up on a moment's notice as he took second after Orlando Cabrera's throwing error on the play. Cabrera tried to gun down Reyes at first, but Joey Votto couldn't corral the throw and the ball rolled into foul territory, allowing Reyes to advance. Reyes slid feet-first into second base, forgoing his normal head-first slide in the name of precaution.
"It's strange because every time I go to steal or hit a triple, I go head first," he said. "I've been doing that all my life, it's a little weird, but I know what I have there and I don't wanna mess around with it. 'Cause like I said before, then you injure it. So I don't want to aggravate it doing that kind of stuff."
Reyes led off the sixth bunting for a base hit that went in and out of Maloney's glove and later scored on a Jason Bay single. The Mets improved to 30-9 this season when Reyes scores a run.
In the seventh, he faced righty reliever Logan Ondrusek and grounded out to third.
Reyes had planned to hit from the right side even if Harang started, noting that he's hit righthanded against righthanded pitchers before, naming knuckleballer Charlie Haeger and Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.
"It's a little weird, it's a little different, but I just wanted to get in the lineup," Reyes said.
Reyes hit three separate times from the right side during batting practice, driving several shots over the fence in leftfield. He said after the game that he took some lefthanded swings in the cage but still felt something, though the injury was improving.
During the game, it certainly wasn't an issue. He was literally all right.