Commentary

Reyes making most of ASG experience

The Mets shortstop decided to make the trip to Arizona, unlike another N.Y. player

Updated: July 12, 2011, 12:04 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

PHOENIX -- Every day another player seemed to bail on the All-Star Game, to the point where the jokes started about whether Lucas Duda might receive an invite as a National League replacement. In fact, a record 84 All-Stars eventually were picked, because so many players could not, or would not, attend.

So New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes is a breath of fresh air.

Four times he has been selected to the All-Star Game. One time he has been healthy enough to play. Four times he has attended.

"Me, personally, every time I have the opportunity to come here, I'm going to come," Reyes said Monday the Arizona Biltmore. "No matter what happens. Three of the last four years in the All-Star Game, I've been injured. But I still come here."

Besides, Reyes noted, it beats housework.

"It is important, because I don't want to do anything in my house," he said with a laugh.

Reyes makes the All-Star Game a family affair. His wife and three daughters are here. So are his mother and father. A cousin, too.

"I've got like 10 people," Reyes said. "Every year it's the same thing."

Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino is on the DL with a strained left thumb yet chose to attend. So did injured fellow Phillie Placido Polanco (bulging disc). Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun (left calf) joined the festivities, too.

Of course, though, Derek Jeter is not here, fresh off his 3,000th hit. And that led to Reyes' being peppered with questions about his fellow New York shortstop.

"I don't think it's an obligation, but it's good to be here," Reyes said. "I like it. As a baseball player, you want to be in the All-Star Game. We have to understand Jeter. He came back from an injury, from a tough injury. That's good for him to take a break a little bit and get healthy."

Said Carlos Beltran: "I don't know the situation with Derek Jeter. I don't know if his calf is still bothering him or not. Jose is on the DL. So Jose decided to come. I do believe as a ballplayer, if you have no injuries, you should be here because the fans are the ones who really vote for you, who want to see you here. But for those players who have injuries, sometimes they prefer to get the rest and take treatments and try to get better for the season."

Reyes' strained left hamstring is making progress. He ran to a limited extent in San Francisco on Sunday and declared about the muscle: "It's getting better." He plans to ride a stationary bicycle and walk on a treadmill while at the All-Star Game. On Wednesday, he will visit the Long Island, N.Y., rehab facility where he worked as he recovered from surgery to repair a torn hamstring tendon two years ago. He will spend two days there getting evaluated.

Reyes is eligible to return from the DL next Monday, although manager Terry Collins identified the next road trip opener, July 22 at Florida, as realistic.

As for what Reyes might be doing if not attending the All-Star festivities, the shortstop suggested he probably would have spent time with family in his native Dominican Republic.

"I don't like the beach too much," he said.

Did he think about not attending?

"For a couple of seconds," Reyes said.

He already had arranged for his family's flights to Phoenix anyway.

In 2006, Reyes missed playing in his first All-Star Game because he sliced his pinkie diving back into first base in a game against the Florida Marlins shortly before the game. Last year, he had oblique woes.

In the lone game Reyes actually played, he started at shortstop and led off for the NL. He went 3-for-4 with a run scored that night in San Francisco, although his biggest thrill occurred before that game.

"I think the highlight of that one is when I caught the [ceremonial] first pitch from Willie Mays," Reyes said. "That's something I'm going to never forget. And he signed a jacket for me. I've got it in my house."

Reyes loves the atmosphere.

"It's just good to be here, to bring my family here, for me to be here with all the players from the other teams," Reyes said. "Talking to them is something I enjoy."

Whose company does he enjoy most among his All-Star brethren?

"Everybody," Reyes said. "I think everybody likes me. I like those guys, too."

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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