- Adam Rubin, ESPNNewYork.com
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NEW YORK -- David Wright spotted shortstop Jose Reyes wincing during a throw from the outfield grass to first base during the seventh inning Saturday. So the New York Mets third baseman summoned manager Jerry Manuel from the dugout.
Manuel then pulled Reyes from the game against the Atlanta Braves with the lingering effects of a right oblique injury. The shortstop won't attempt to play again until the Mets resume action Thursday in San Francisco after the All-Star break.
Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal will replace Reyes on the National League All-Star squad, although Reyes plans to attend Tuesday's event in Anaheim, Calif., and be in uniform. It marks the second time in Reyes' three All-Star selections he will attend but be a spectator. He also was forced to watch the 2006 game in Pittsburgh from the dugout because he was recovering from a sliced pinkie that required seven stitches.
"David is one of the guys who knows me better than anybody else here," Reyes said about his longtime teammate. "He said, 'I can tell on your face that you don't feel too good.' And they took me out of the game.
"It's been bothering me [in] everything that I do," he said of the injury. "I'll just try to back off a little bit and try to rest a little bit and see what happens in the next few days."
Said Manuel: "When I went out, I asked him, was it sore? He said it's a little sore, but he was fine to play. He kept saying, 'Hey, I'm OK. I'm OK.' I just decided the best thing was to take him out."
Reyes had been scratched from a June 30 game in San Juan against the Florida Marlins after feeling discomfort on his right side during batting practice. He returned to the lineup six days later. As a concession to the injury, the switch-hitting shortstop has since only batted from the right side during games.
Reyes underwent an MRI exam on Friday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, which the team announced came back clean, including for a potential rib cage fracture.
"The doctor said sometimes the MRI doesn't show what you have there. This is a tricky injury," Reyes said. "At least it's not a stress fracture."
Mets officials have insisted Reyes could do no additional harm by playing through the injury.
Still, the decision to allow Reyes to talk his way into the lineup because of the magnitude of the series against the first-place Braves contradicted this year's stated emphasis on conservatism when treating injuries. After a rash of injuries in 2009 -- including Reyes getting rushed back from a right hamstring tendon issue and having continued false starts -- the Mets went so far as to post "Prevention & Recovery" signs throughout the clubhouse this year to emphasize the importance of cautiously treating injuries.
Had the Mets placed Reyes on the disabled list at the time of the injury in San Juan, he would have been eligible to return for the second-half opener in San Francisco, which he's now targeting anyway in a still-injured state.
Manuel and Reyes both insisted starting Reyes the past four games with limitations was not a mistake or imprudent. Manuel noted team doctors have suggested he could do no additional harm. The manager added that even a limited Reyes was a better option than rookie Ruben Tejada, who replaced Reyes in the seventh inning and is in a 1-for-22 rut.
"It wasn't a mistake, because I think I feel like I can play," Reyes said.
Said Manuel: "I don't know if anything can heal while you're playing, but I don't think we have any major setbacks because he did play. I think, if anything, it's kind of breaking some things up in there for him. He's been a little cautious. He's been down these roads before. But he's OK. He'll be fine."
As for the All-Star Game, Reyes said he's committed to traveling to Anaheim. He already has flown nine family members from his native Dominican Republic to New York, and has plans to send them to the event.
"You have to do what's best for this team," Wright said about Reyes' All-Star Game withdrawal. "The All-Star Game is great. It's fun. It's a tremendous honor. But it's about this team. It's about these guys in here.
"I talked to him, and he was in some pain. To get to where we need to get, we're going to need him healthy in the second half."