- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
NEW YORK -- The fate of Jose Reyes' season could be decided Sunday morning in a Manhattan hospital.
The severity of the injury is unclear at this point. Reyes doesn't think he will miss significant time but noted after the game that he still felt tightness and pain in the hamstring.
Reyes status for Sunday's Subway Series finale is unknown. Manager Terry Collins told center fielder Angel Pagan to be ready to bat leadoff if Reyes can't play. Ruben Tejada will likely replace Reyes at shortstop.
"It changes the look of the team, for sure. No question," Collins said of Reyes' potential absence. "We've got to find somebody to step in his role and step in his place. We don't expect them to do what he does."
Reyes suffered the injury while hustling down the line to beat out an infield hit in the bottom of the first. The shortstop said he felt "something weird" in his hamstring halfway down the baseline.
He attempted to steal second later in the inning but stopped short and turned back to first. At that point, Reyes was worried about putting pressure on the hamstring. He was so worried, in fact, that he silently hoped that no Met would hit a shot in the gap so he'd have to race around the bases.
"I just said when I was on first base, oh please, don't hit a gapper here," the 28-year-old said.
Still, he went out to play shortstop in the top of the second. When the pain didn't subside, he informed team trainer Ray Ramirez of the injury. Collins immediately removed Reyes from the game.
"I felt worried a little bit about it," Reyes said. "I've been through this before. I don't want to blow up my hamstring again because I've been through a lot with that."
Fortunately for Reyes and the Mets, the shortstop did not hurt the same hamstring that has given him trouble in the past.
A right hamstring injury limited him to just 36 games in 2009. In 2004, he played in only 54 games because of various leg injuries that were so bad the Mets tinkered with changing how he runs.
Any extended absence this season would cripple the Mets. Reyes was described as "the world's best player" by Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez on Friday, and few in the team's clubhouse could argue that point.
Through Friday's 5-1 loss to the Yankees, Reyes led the majors with 123 hits, 15 triples and a .352 batting average. Reyes also ranked second in stolen bases (30) and runs scored (65) and first in multihit games (42). Reyes had also struck out just once every 14.6 plate appearances, the best ratio in the National League.
He is the chief reason Collins' injury-plagued Mets entered play Saturday at 41-41.
"I'm concerned about it obviously," Collins said of Reyes' injury. "You sensed it not only in the dugout you sensed it in the stands -- the air came out of the bubble."
If Reyes is lost for a significant amount of time, he would be the latest in a long list of Mets to miss games due to injury. Starter Chris Young is done for the season with a shoulder injury. Ike Davis has missed 46 games with a left ankle sprain and bone bruise. David Wright has missed 43 games with a lower back stress fracture and the team is still waiting for Johan Santana to make his 2011 debut. The left-hander had season-ending shoulder surgery in late September last season.
Reyes is also a free agent at the end of the season. So if the injury is significant, it could affect his value, which is sky-high after his tremendous three-month run in 2011.
He said he may be able to play on Sunday but it was evident that Reyes, who relies heavily on his legs to succeed, prefers to proceed with caution.
"When you feel something running -- specifically the game that I play -- you have to back off a little bit and shut it down," Reyes said.
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.