Mets: Jose Reyes has Grade 1 strain

Updated: July 4, 2011, 1:23 PM ET
By Matt Ehalt | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes has a Grade 1 hamstring strain, the lowest level of strain.

Reyes, who fans voted as the National League's starting shortstop in the All-Star Game, missed the finale of the Subway Series on Sunday and expects to miss Monday's game against Los Angeles.

"I think it's good," Reyes said about his reaction to his MRI result. "Just a little bit of strain. Nothing big. I know we're going to take it one day at a time and see what happens. Today when I got up I feel even better than yesterday. That's very good news."

Reyes was removed from Saturday's game before the start of the third inning after feeling tightness in his left hamstring. He said he did not feel anything Sunday, but used the day to rest. He said as he assesses whether he's ready to make a return, he wants to make sure that he can play the full nine innings, instead of getting pulled early in the game.

The Mets treated him with ice and he said the hamstring was a little bit swollen and the ice was used to calm it down a little bit. General manager Sandy Alderson added that the team wants to see how he handles the plane ride to the West Coast, where the Mets wrap up the first half of the season with four games against the Los Angeles Dodgers and three in San Francisco this week, and see what symptoms he has. Reyes added that they will test the hamstring before the game.

"Right now, I'm focused on trying to get to the lineup as soon as possible," Reyes said.

New York manager Terry Collins said he hopes Reyes might be ready to play Tuesday, though it's possible he could end up sitting out all week before the All-Star break.

"We have to take it one day at a time," Alderson said. "We're not making any predictions at the moment."

Still, there was no mention of putting Reyes on the disabled list -- a positive sign for a key player with a history of long-term leg injuries.

"We'll just see how he responds and the symptoms he demonstrates over the next few days," Alderson said. "I'm sure he'll want to play. I'm sure he'll want to play in the All-Star Game, etc. That's something we have to look at."

In the first inning of Saturday's game, a 5-2 Yankees win, Reyes came up limp while running to first to beat out an infield single in his first at-bat. Reyes said he felt "something weird" in his hamstring as he was beating out the soft single.

Later in the inning, Reyes started running to second to steal, but stopped halfway toward the bag and returned to first. Reyes said he was worried about putting pressure on his hamstring and even said he hoped that no Met hit a ball in the gap, as to press the issue.

Reyes took the field in the second inning, but Collins immediately removed Reyes from the lineup after he told trainer Ray Ramirez that the pain still lingered. The left hamstring is not the one that has given him problems in the past.

"It'll be a challenge. I think we are going to be up for it," Collins said of playing without Reyes. "Certainly we've dealt with some adversity so far this season. We're resilient, we'll bounce back and when we find out what the situation is going to be with him today, we'll make sure our guys are ready to play."

The shortstop has been one of the premier players in baseball this season and an arguable National League MVP candidate. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez even went so far as to call Reyes "the world's greatest player" before the first game in the Subway Series on Friday night.

"It's a big relief. You don't want anyone going down and especially a guy like Jose where we depend so much on him as a team, every time he gets on base he can be able to steal bases and put himself in a situation where we can score runs in a ballgame, it's great," Carlos Beltran said. "He's only going to be out for a couple of days and be back in the lineup."

The 28-year-old is batting a league-best .354 with a league-high 124 hits, including 15 triples. Reyes also is second in baseball with 30 stolen bases and runs scored with 65.

After the Mets removed Reyes from the game, Ruben Tejada filled in at shortstop and went 0-for-3 on Saturday. Tejada filled in at shortstop again Sunday, while Angel Pagan battled leadoff in Reyes' absence. Tejada went 0-for-7 in the two games while Pagan went 0-for-3 on Sunday.

"We're going to have to rely on Jose himself. We're going to have to rely on Ray Ramirez and the training staff," Alderson said. "We're going to have to rely on the doctors as well who are interpreting his condition as time goes on. It's going to have to be something that we monitor. I'm sure he'll want to play and I'm sure he'll want to play in the All-Star Game, but that's something we're going to have to look at."

If he has to miss the game, it would be the third time in four All-Star selections that Reyes sits out because of injury.

"Everybody wants to be there, wants to play," Reyes said. "Hopefully, I feel better in a couple of days."

The speedy switch-hitter can become a free agent after the World Series, and it appeared he was primed to cash in on a scintillating season. Last month, Reyes informed the Mets he wasn't interested in negotiating a new contract during the season, saying he wanted to keep his focus on the field.

He said he wasn't worried about getting hurt because injuries are a part of the game, and some took his stance as a sign that he's eager to test the open market next fall.

But the Mets may not be out of the running for his services. Alderson has been leaning heavily toward authorizing a big offer that could keep Reyes with the team, The New York Post has reported, citing two sources with ties to the GM.

Reyes' performance has been a big reason the banged-up Mets have been able to hover around .500.

Losing him for an extended stretch would be a huge blow to the Mets, already missing star third baseman David Wright and first baseman Ike Davis because of injuries.

Matt Ehalt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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