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Reyes to play for Cyclones Monday

New York Mets' Jose Reyes during the third

New York Mets' Jose Reyes during the third inning a game against the Philadelphia Phillies. (July 17, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

Playing shortstop and leading off for your Brooklyn Cyclones against the Lowell Spinners at noon Monday in Coney Island, No. 7, Jose Reyes.

Yes, although he is eligible and healthy enough to come off the disabled list Monday, the National League's leading hitter will make his return in a Class A game to make sure everything checks out, even though the Mets have a makeup game against Florida on Monday night at Citi Field.

It's not what manager Terry Collins originally envisioned. He worried about Reyes getting plunked by an out-of-control young pitcher. But as Collins said following Reyes' successful workout before Sunday's 8-5 loss to Philadelphia, "I got overruled. If we activate him and he plays and, all of a sudden, the game affects him, now you're talking about player moves."

Reyes spent about 30 minutes running the bases hard in front of a crowd of reporters and showed no sign of a problem with the left hamstring he strained July 2. "No doubt, I feel very good," Reyes said. "I was able to test it out with no problem. So that's a good sign. I don't feel tightness; I don't feel soreness. I feel normal."

Before one reporter could finish a question about what might happen if Reyes hits one in the gap against St. Louis Tuesday night at Citi Field, Reyes cut him off with a one-word answer: "Triple."

That drew a big laugh, considering Reyes' major-league leading 15 triples this season. Reyes has been advised not to overextend himself playing for Brooklyn this afternoon, but he'll be as aggressive as usual against major-league opposition.

"If I get in the game and hit a ball in the gap, I'm going to try to get the triple because that's the way that I play the game," Reyes said. "I don't know why I have to stop [at second]."

Mindful of his past physical problems, Reyes admitted his relief over having no setbacks.

"I didn't expect it to come this quickly," Reyes said. "I run home to first base in 3.8 or 3.9 [seconds]. That's what I do when I play the game normal. I'm very happy about that."

So, are his Mets teammates. Centerfielder Angel Pagan, whose .245 average is more than 100 points lower than Reyes' .354 mark, has struggled in the leadoff position, although he managed an RBI single in the Mets' three-run eighth inning rally to cut Philadelphia's lead to 8-4.

"Having Reyes in the lineup is a whole different story because the way he's hitting this year, he's going to get on base and put pressure on," Pagan said. "He's going to make the pitcher make a mistake over the plate. That's when we get runs early in the ballgame, and that's the key. Every time Reyes is on base, it's 85-90 percent we're going to get a run early in the ballgame."

In losing two of three to the Phillies, the Mets dug an early hole in both losses. But that early-inning spark might return with Reyes.

"I can't wait," Reyes said. "I want to continue to do what I did in the first half to position us every day to win a game. I love the game, and I don't want to be on the DL. I want to be on the field."

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