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Reyes grateful for second-chance as he rejoins Mets

Jose Reyes with Brooklyn Cyclones teammates. (Photo: Brooklyn Cyclones)

Jose Reyes with Brooklyn Cyclones teammates. (Photo: Brooklyn Cyclones)

 

After serving a 52-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, and being released by the Colorado Rockies, Jose Reyes made his return to New York City Sunday for the Brooklyn Cyclones as they took on the Hudson Valley Renegades. Having once played for the New York Mets, over 7,800 fans – some with jersey’s and shirts bearing Reyes’ name – cheered as he took the field for the first time.

Reyes went 0-for-3 but reached on a fielder’s choice in his first game since being signed to a minor league contract by the Mets. As of now there’s no timetable on when he’ll join the big league club, but he said that he’s going to take things “a day at a time” as he prepares his body for game action.

As far as what to expect from fans after his highly-publicized struggle, Reyes said that he respects the fact that there will be those who don’t like him. “There’s always going to be someone who says something,” he said, but he hopes that people see him “as a man” who has taken accountability for his actions as he does what he needs to do “to get better as a person and as a player.”

Reyes completed MLB required counseling and he continues to seek help stemming from an incident where he slammed his wife, Katherine, into a sliding glass door in a hotel room in Hawaii. Criminal charges were never filed due to lack of cooperation from his wife, but he says he believes people deserve a second chance, and is grateful to Mets owner Jeff Wilpon and General Manager Sandy Alderson for allowing him to continue his career.

Finding solace in Cyclones fans cheering him, he admitted that he felt “a little emotional” during the game. “People still like me,” Reyes said, and he’s happy to be back with the organization that helped him grow. He noted that this was his first struggle, and that having spent so many years a part of the Mets without incident, made it easier for the team to reunite with him.

“Through all those years that I played here in New York, I never got in any trouble,” Reyes said. “I was a happy kid who loved to play the game and who loved to enjoy the game and helping my ball club win.”

As far as the impact the incident had on his family life, his wife and kids were at the game cheering him on, and with all that’s happened since the night of the incident, he’s learned that he has to be “an example” to his family.

Speculation grows as to where exactly Reyes will play once he’s back with the Mets, but he says that his body feels fine and that he’ll “feel comfortable no matter what position” he plays. His agent, Peter Greenberg, said that Reyes will concentrate on third base while with the Cyclones, but his abilities as an athlete will make him successful even if he’s placed in the outfield.

“He’s in shape,” Greenberg said. “He played short not too long ago at Triple-A at a high level. He does need to get comfortable with the new position.”

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