Jose Reyes, on the DL, watches a game from the...

Jose Reyes, on the DL, watches a game from the Mets dugout. (Aug. 9, 2011) Credit: David Pokress

The sky darkened over Citi Field at what was supposed to be game time Friday night. Rain was not falling, but an ominous forecast caused the field to be covered with tarpaulin and the Mets' game with the Brewers to be delayed. Fans were warned to leave uncovered seats because of the expected severe weather, which arrived at around 7:30 p.m. and packed quite a wallop.

All of which meant little to Jose Reyes, whose workday had ended hours earlier. The injured Mets shortstop spent the morning running and working out for 90 minutes at a Long Island facility before reporting to Citi Field, where he took batting practice and grounders at shortstop.

Reyes is once again rehabbing a strained left hamstring. He is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, when the Mets will be in the midst of a three-game series in Philadelphia with the first-place Phillies. There had been a thought that Reyes could return that day.

"I don't know about that," Reyes said Friday. "I need to run the bases first before I decide when I'm going to play. I've been running the last few days, so I feel very good. I'm not running 100 percent, but it's getting there."

Reyes is running on a straight line, not cutting and doing the other things he will need to do before he is cleared to play baseball. He has been through this so many times in his Mets career that he is somewhat of a leg-injury rehab expert. Unfortunately.

This is the first time, though, that Reyes' ability to come back from injury could so directly affect his future paychecks. A free agent after the season, Reyes looked like a lock for a multiyear, mega-contract before going on the DL in July with his first strained hamstring of the season.

The second -- a continuation of the first -- knocked Reyes out of a game Aug. 7. He is still the National League's leading hitter with a .336 average, but every day he's out could cost him in the eyes of general managers and team owners who will have to decide whether to break the bank for the 28-year-old.

"I don't worry about my contract right now," Reyes said. "I just want to be on the field healthy."

For that to happen, Reyes has to feel that his hamstring is fully healed. He said Friday that he did not have that feeling after returning from the first DL stint July 19.

"My confidence runningwise wasn't there," he said. "Anytime you have a problem with your hamstring, you don't get your confidence back right away. It's going to take some time to put it out of your mind."

The good news for the Mets has been the play of Ruben Tejada. Since coming back from Triple-A Buffalo on Aug. 8, Tejada is hitting .324 (11-for-34) with four doubles and four RBIs.

Still, the Mets would prefer to have Reyes back. If he wins the batting title, he will be the first Met to do so. But Reyes said that's not on his mind anymore than his contract status.

"Right now, I have one thing on my mind," he said. "Getting healthy and getting on the field."

Notes & quotes: Jason Bay was not in the lineup for a planned day off. Bay was hitless in his last 20 at-bats . . . Manager Terry Collins said he wants to use Lucas Duda more in rightfield starting Saturday because that could be his position in 2012. But Duda was at first base Friday and is going to be switching between the positions for the rest of the season, Collins said.

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