Reyes may be back as soon as Tuesday

Reyes may be back as soon as Tuesday

NEW YORK -- The worst fears of the Mets have now come and gone. An MRI taken Sunday morning on Jose Reyes' left hamstring revealed a Grade 1 strain, the mildest variety. Reyes is day to day, and the Mets are hopeful he may return to the lineup as soon as Tuesday in Los Angeles.

"Nothing big," was how Reyes characterized the strain. "It's real good news."

Undergoing an MRI early Sunday morning in Manhattan, Reyes walked into Citi Field about two hours later with no visible limp. Ruben Tejada replaced him in Sunday's lineup, with center fielder Angel Pagan assuming the leadoff spot in the lineup.

Though Mets manager Terry Collins is wary of inserting Reyes back into the lineup on Monday, following a cross-country flight Sunday night, he said that Tuesday is a possibility. Also possible is holding Reyes out of the lineup until the All-Star break, which begins a week from Monday.

Everything depends upon how he feels.

"We're going to have to rely on Jose himself," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "We're going to have to rely on Ray Ramirez and the training staff, and we're going to have to rely on the doctors, as well, who are interpreting his condition as time goes on. It's going to have to be something we're going to have to monitor."

Because of Reyes' extensive injury history, and because of his value to the club, Collins said he plans to err on the side of caution. Reyes will certainly want to play, but even he realizes that he may need to exercise prudence. Attempting to play on an injured right leg two years ago in Los Angeles, Reyes tore a hamstring tendon and missed the final four months of the season.

"I have to make sure that I'm going to be ready to go, because I don't want to go to the game and play one inning or two innings and have to come out of the game," Reyes said. "When I want to play, I have to make sure that my leg is going to be able to stay for a full game."

That may be sooner. It may be later. The Mets will know more on Monday afternoon.

"I'm really leery of the six-hour trip west and having him bounce back from that," Collins said. "I'll wait to see how he feels in Los Angeles."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.