Reyes gets 1st look at Mets as opponent
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Jose Reyes stepped into the on-deck circle, turned toward the New York Mets’ dugout and bowed.
Hard feelings, nowhere to be found.
The Miami Marlins shortstop faced his
former team for the first time Thursday, shaking hands and offering hugs
before the game with guys donning the orange-and-blue color scheme he
used to wear. Reyes signed a $106 million, six-year deal with the
Marlins during the offseason after he said the cash-strapped Mets failed
to make him a competitive offer.
“Of course, I’m going to miss the fans
there in New York because of all the support they gave to me,” Reyes
said. “I’m going to miss that. But like I say, I have new fans now down
here in Miami.”
The Marlins wound up winning 3-1.
Reyes got mostly applause as he was
introduced, though some boos were mixed in as well. The real reaction
from New York will come April 24, when the Marlins are set to play at
Citi Field for the first time this season.
“This is nothing,” Reyes said. “It’s
going to really go crazy when I go back to New York. This is spring
training. This is just another game.”
As reunions go, this was largely uneventful.
Reyes took three practice swings
watching R.A. Dickey warm up before the bottom of the first, slapped
hands with new Marlins teammate Emilio Bonifacio and made his way into
the batters’ box. He looked at a 72 mph strike from Dickey, then
grounded out to the pitcher on a 77 mph offering one pitch later.
“Knuckleballs,” Dickey said. “That’s what he was going to get.”
In the third, Reyes reached high to
snare Justin Turner’s sharp liner — his only defensive chance of the
game, as he left following a 54-minute rain delay. After Reyes led off
the final game of New York’s season last Sept. 28 with a bunt single and
effectively clinched the NL batting title, he immediately was replaced
in the lineup by Turner as some Mets fans booed his departure.
Another departure came a couple months later, when Reyes headed to Miami.
“I started kind of giggling to myself
before he stepped in, just looking over there,” Dickey said. “You know,
it’s hard. He’s such an exuberant personality, a great guy, a great
teammate. … But when he got in, it was business. He meant it when he
Reyes hasn’t yet picked a new home in
Miami. He’s keeping his New York place for now, and when asked if that
still makes him a New Yorker, Reyes flashed his grin and said, “You know
it.” He keeps in contact with several Mets, third baseman David Wright
For the most part, he’s fitting in with Miami perfectly.
Most days when he’s not at the spring
training facility, Reyes and Hanley Ramirez — who moved to third base
to accommodate Reyes’ arrival — are playing PlayStation baseball
against one other. Reyes prefers playing as the Red Sox, Ramirez plays
as the Phillies, since the game won’t allow them to play Marlins vs.
“I want to win a World Series,” Reyes
said as he wore a sleeveless Marlins shirt with one of Miami’s area
codes, 305, in the center. “I think, on this team, I have a better
Reyes could have gotten a sense of what
Mets fans think of him in a new uniform earlier this spring, but the
four-time All-Star and three-time stolen base champion did not travel to
his former spring training home in Port St. Lucie, Fla., for either of
Miami’s two games there in the past week. When the Mets visited the
Marlins’ split squad on March 7, Reyes was at the team’s new downtown
Miami ballpark to play Florida International.
“It’s all part of the business. It’s
part of the game,” Mets manager Terry Collins said of going up against
Reyes, not long before the two embraced and chatted pregame. “And so I
don’t care if it happens in spring training or it happens during the
season. It’s going to happen. This is a bigger news story for you guys
than it is for me. I’m as interested in watching and seeing how Josh
Johnson is than I am Jose Reyes.”
Collins surely liked how his team fared against the Marlins’ ace.
Jason Bay was 2 for 2 against Johnson,
who gave up a run and five hits in three innings. The Mets had three
straight hits off Johnson in the first, the last of those being Ike
Davis’ ground-rule double that scored Turner.
Dickey was perfect through two innings,
his outing interrupted by a rain delay that began just before Miami
began batting in the third.
The Marlins took the lead in the
seventh after a two-run error by the Mets’ Adam Loewen. Chris Coghlan
and Bryan Petersen hit two-out singles and both scored when Loewen
misplayed Donovan Solano’s flyball to left.
Collins was ejected in the eighth for arguing a batters’ interference call.