Mets' Jose Reyes 'anxious' for season

Updated: January 18, 2011, 6:43 PM ET
By Enrique Rojas | ESPNdeportes.com

Jose Reyes will have his first face-to-face meeting of 2011 with Terry Collins, the New York Mets' new manager, at Citi Field on Wednesday. But that's not why the 27-year-old shortstop is anxious.

"I'm anxious for the baseball season to start," Reyes said in an interview with ESPNdeportes.com. "I want to be already in spring training. Last year was a very difficult season for me, but physically and mentally I feel ready to have the best showing of my career in 2011."

Reyes, who lives on Long Island, has been training at an indoor facility. He was happy to hear Collins publicly tab him as the Mets' leadoff man, in contrast to former manager Jerry Manuel, who tried to hit him third.

Reyes will arrive in spring training in a significantly different frame of mind than he did in 2010, when he was coming in off surgery to his right knee. He also suffered from thyroid hyperactivity and was interrogated by the FBI because of his association with Dr. Anthony Galea, who's accused of selling controlled substances. Reyes has not been linked to any wrongdoing.

"I'm proud to have overcome all of these inconveniences, and I had what can be considered a good season," said Reyes, who batted .282 with 50 extra base hits and 30 steals in 133 games and was an All-Star for the third time in his career. He had a .207 average and a .280 slugging percentage in 82 at-bats before Manuel returned him to the leadoff spot, where he batted .297, hit 11 home runs and had a slugging percentage of .456.

"I'm a natural leadoff batter, it's where I feel more comfortable," said Reyes. In fact, he's been the leadoff batter in 3,865 of his 4,254 at-bats in his career. In eight seasons, Reyes has a .286 batting average and is the Mets' career leader in triples (83) and steals (331).

Reyes said that he only has had contact with Collins through text messages and phone calls since Collins was named the Mets' manager. The two got to know each other during last year's spring training when Collins was the defensive coordinator in New York's farm system.

"We will be together for two days at Citi Field in different team activities. It will be our first real opportunity to talk," Reyes said.

Reyes admitted that his contractual situation could become a distraction for him and the Mets. He will have the chance to be a free agent for the first time in his career at the end of the season -- unless the Mets decide to deal him before the trading deadline.

"The Mets know that I want to stay in Queens all of my career, but I'm a ballplayer and my agent will handle that," Reyes said. "I never worry about things outside the playing field once the season starts."

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.

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