NEW YORK -- After three days mourning his grandmother's death in the Dominican Republic, Mets shortstop Jose Reyes reluctantly returned to the team in time for Thursday's game against the Pirates.
"I wanted to stay in the Dominican with my family," Reyes said. "But my dad told me, 'You need to go back. You have a job to do.'"
Leading off and playing shortstop Thursday afternoon, Reyes missed the minimum three games on Major League Baseball's bereavement list. He could have remained inactive for as many as seven.
"I'm here now," Reyes said. "I have to continue to play baseball and move on. But at the same time, I'm still going to remember her. I can't put her out of my mind that quick. I lost one of my family."
For the Mets, who scored a total of four runs in their last two games without their starting shortstop, Reyes' return to active duty was critical. Having Reyes allowed manager Terry Collins to slide Angel Pagan down to fifth in the lineup, providing some much-needed protection for middle-of-the-order sluggers Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay.
"He's a huge piece of this puzzle," Collins said before Thursday's game. "His energy out there today will make a huge difference, in my opinion. I know he's ready to play. I know he's had a tough few days, but this is what he loves to do and this is what he does best. We're really happy to have him back in there."
Reyes responded by going 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored in the win over the Pirates.