LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The one positive to come out of yesterday's brief confusion over Jose Reyes' latest medical diagnosis seems to be that the Mets should have their All-Star shortstop back playing in Florida before very long.
The apparent communication lapse between the Mets and Reyes occurred after the team released a statement Tuesday saying that his condition had been confirmed as an overactive thyroid. A few hours later, Reyes told ESPNDeportes "there is nothing wrong with my thyroid" and that the specialist said to him it was only "inflammation" of his throat.
But Reyes' version is consistent with the symptoms for thyroiditis, a very common condition caused by elevated thyroid levels, according to Dr. Andrew Martorella, a thyroid specialist who practices at Weill-Cornell Medical School in Manhattan.
Martorella explained that thyroiditis is caused by a virus or cold that stimulates a buildup of the thyroid hormone in the gland, causing it to enlarge. In some cases, a patient feels no symptoms, and Reyes said he felt fine before returning to New York last week. In others, there can be pain and irritation. Either way, Martorella said the condition only lasts for a few days or weeks and usually disappears on its own.
Two people familiar with Reyes' situation said Wednesday that the elevated thyroid levels, which were confirmed by more tests in New York this week, seem to have been caused by a temporary condition that may not require further treatment.
"Sometimes people don't even know it happens," Martorella said. "If a person isn't a professional athlete and wasn't screened after every blood test, they'd probably never know."
Despite some frantic double-checking Wednesday between Mets general manager Omar Minaya, the team's medical staff and Reyes' agent, Peter Greenberg, the Reyes case appears to be headed for a happy ending. Still, Minaya refused to provide a timetable for Reyes' return until the Mets receive the last series of test results, which were expected by Thursday. If Reyes is cleared, as expected, he could return by Friday and maybe play in a spring training game by early next week.
"As far as what it's going to require, we're going to wait for the final tests before we can make that decision," Minaya said.
Minaya was put in the unenviable position Wednesday of trying to explain what looked like another medical impasse between a Mets' player and the front office when he addressed Reyes' situation before the game against the Braves at Champion Stadium.
Given the numerous health-related issues of last season, it was another uncomfortable spot for the GM, who called both the team's medical director, David Altchek, and Greenberg Wednesday morning to see if everyone was on the same page.
Minaya confirmed that was the case, saying "we're all in agreement that he has elevated thyroid levels." Technically, that is not different from Reyes' statement, which only suggested that he did not expect to need any long-term treatment for his thyroid issues. Chris Leible, another representative for Reyes, said Wednesday that they did speak with Minaya and the diagnosis was correct.