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

got in.”

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

among them.

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.