NEW YORK -- It's been a long three weeks, but the Mets finally saw the return of shortstop and catalyst Jose Reyes to the lineup in the second game of their Monday doubleheader against the Marlins at Citi Field.
The Mets went 7-11 after Reyes went down with his second strained left hamstring of the season, and they have tumbled from nine games out of the National League Wild Card to 15 behind the Braves. Needless to say, manager Terry Collins is excited to have Reyes, who still leads the National League in batting average, back in the lineup.
"He brings such energy to the field and the team," Collins said. "He loves to play, loves to be out there. He had a good weekend in Binghamton.
"I just want him to go out and play. I think his energy, his presence in our lineup, makes us a better team."
Reyes led off and played shortstop in Game 2 after three rehab games with Double-A Binghamton, where he went 3-for-9 with a home run. Collins' decision to give Reyes the first game off is the first instance of him implementing a plan to spell Reyes occasionally to keep his valuable legs healthy and in the lineup.
"There's no question, he's going to want to play," Collins said. "He and I have already discussed that, at length, his desire to be on the field. I certainly respect it tremendously, but as I've told him, we've tried that twice, and he's going to get some rest."
The shortstop, batting .336 this season with an .884 on-base plus slugging percentage, was not officially added to the Mets' roster until after the first game so as not to force the Mets to play with 24 players in Game 1 of the doubleheader.
As a result of Reyes' return, the Mets sent outfielder Mike Baxter back to Triple-A Buffalo. In 10 games since being called up Aug. 8, Baxter batted .250 with a .368 on-base percentage and a .438 slugging percentage.