JUPITER, Fla. — Jose Reyes was a fast learner last year, providing stability at third base for the Mets after David Wright underwent season-ending surgery.
It turns out 2016 wasn’t just a cameo in the starting role for Reyes. After Wright was shut down Tuesday from his throwing program with an impingement in his right shoulder, manager Terry Collins indicated he would again entrust third base to Reyes.
And that is just fine with the 33-year-old infielder.
“When you play shortstop, you can play anywhere on the field,” Reyes said. “I’ve been taking some ground balls at batting practice. The way that I played last year, you already have a spring training, the year’s going to be better for me.”
Reyes missed all of spring training with the Rockies last year after his arrest the previous offseason on domestic-violence charges. After serving a 52-game suspension, he was released by the Rockies and signed a minor league deal with the Mets that included a team option for 2017.
The Mets have discussed using Reyes in a super-utility role that would also include work at shortstop, second base and center field. If Collins opts to occasionally use Reyes in another position, he could deploy Wilmer Flores, Ty Kelly or T.J. Rivera, among others, at third base.
Though Reyes started at shortstop against the Marlins on Tuesday to prepare for the World Baseball Classic — he will represent the Dominican Republic — Collins indicated he will return to third base this week. Collins is also confident Reyes will get enough reps at third base in the Grapefruit League following his stint at shortstop in the WBC.
Reyes has sympathy for his longtime friend, with whom he wants to play side-by-side at some point this season.
“I just see [Wright] working in the morning and then basically working the whole day,” Reyes said. “In the afternoon, too. It’s tough for a baseball player. Not everybody takes that. I appreciate that from him, coming with the attitude every day to try and get better.”
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