All he does is win.
That’s the subtext of the Jose Reyes rehabilitation tour. Sure it’s all about his ankle, making sure he is strong and confident on the bases and in the field while getting his timing back after two months away from the baseball diamond.
But it should be noted that every game in which he has played, both with Single-A Dunedin and with Triple-A Buffalo, he’s been on the winning team.
It happened again Sunday afternoon as Reyes went 2 for 5 as the Bisons designated hitter in a 1-0, 14-inning win over the Durham Bulls.
“On my rehab I’m 6-0,” Reyes said with his trademark smile. “I win all three games in Dunedin and now here all three games so that’s good to see. Hopefully they continue to play like that.
“I’m very excited that I was able to make it through my first six games on rehab with no problem. That’s good news. My timing is coming back. Running. I’m running good. Hopefully I’m with the big club soon.”
Reyes will return to the Bisons lineup tonight as the starting shortstop. While publicly the Toronto Blue Jays and Reyes talked only of three games with Buffalo, Reyes said the plan was always for four games.
“From the beginning it was going to be four,” Reyes said. “Maybe they don’t say it but from the beginning, I was going to play all four games here. That was the plan.”
Speaking with reporters in Toronto after the Blue Jays recorded their 11th straight win, a 13-5 decision over Baltimore, General Manager Alex Anthopoulos said that Reyes could go to New Hampshire on Tuesday or join the Jays on their road trip either at Tampa or Boston.
“Depends on how he looks and feels after each game,” Anthopoulos said. “We’re re-evaluating daily.”
While the Jays would love to get Reyes back in the lineup, he is already ahead of his rehab schedule. And the Jays want a healthy Reyes back.
“He’s getting his work in,” Bisons manager Marty Brown said. “It’s never been a rush for Jose to get back there. Especially since they’re kind of clicking up there right now, let’s make sure Jose is healthy and ready to go when he gets there. So that’s what he’s preparing for.”
In his three games with the Bisons, Reyes has gone 5 for 13 with a stolen base and three runs scored.
Sunday, after he hit two balls sharply to force the Durham defense to come up with big plays, he singled in the fourth and tried to go from first to third on a groundout by Kevin Pillar, but was thrown out making a head-first slide.
“I steal with no fear,” Reyes said. “The only problem that I have is sliding feet first. So that’s why I’m going to go head-first now. Other than that, everything is good.”
He singled in the 12th inning and advanced to third, but the Herd couldn’t get him across. He was pulled in the 14th to end his day.
“That was the plan that they had for me so I DH today,” Reyes said. “I don’t like it too much because I don’t like to sit around too much in the dugout. I like to be involved in the game, but it is what it is. I take my ABs today and that’s all that matters.”
“He told me he doesn’t like to DH, which I can understand,” Brown said. “I didn’t like to DH very much but it was good for him to get some at-bats. It was great for him to go up there and compete the way he did. That’s the thing he brings to the table. He just makes things really hard for pitchers.”
Reyes may make things hard for pitchers, but he makes things incredibly enjoyable for his teammates. Always a well-liked player, his joy and enthusiasm have helped jump-start a Bison team that had hit a midseason lull.
“I’ve been fortunate to play with Jose a few different times,” said catcher Mike Nickeas, who was in the Mets organization with Reyes for several years. “He’s terrific. He’s one of the best teammates I’ve been around. He’s always laughing, always smiling. He looks like he’s having a blast all the time and it rubs off on everybody.”