Jose Reyes cheered in 1st minor league game since rejoining Mets

NEW YORK -- Jose Reyes received a warm welcome from fans and played errorless defense at a new position in his first minor league game since rejoining the New York Mets.

Reyes, a star shortstop with the Mets from 2003-11, was hitless in three at-bats Sunday for the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones against the Hudson Valley Renegades. He batted leadoff and was removed after spending six innings at third base.

The 33-year-old Reyes signed a minor league contract with the Mets on Saturday. He was released by the Colorado Rockies after serving a 59-day suspension earlier this season for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy.

Some fans in the Coney Island crowd of 7,851 wore Mets jerseys with Reyes' name on the back. The switch-hitting speedster was cheered during pregame introductions and given a partial standing ovation the first time he came to bat.

Reyes told reporters after the game that hearing fans cheering for him was "amazing," though he acknowledged he expects some fans will not agree with the Mets' decision to give him a second chance.

"I know some people out there, they're going to be hard on me, and I respect that," Reyes said. "I understand. I put myself in that situation. But like I said, I'll stand up here like a man, and I made a bad mistake. That was a terrible mistake. I'll do everything I need to do to try to get better, and we'll see what happens."

A brief "Jo-se, Jo-se'' chant, heard often in Queens during his Mets tenure, broke out before Reyes flailed at a low changeup for strike three in the first inning.

"Through all those years that I played here in New York, I never got in trouble," Reyes said. "I was a happy kid who loved to play the game and who loved to enjoy the game and helping my ballclub to win. Like I said, we're human beings. We make mistakes. But I feel like I need a second chance."

With Mets general manager Sandy Alderson in attendance, Reyes played his first competitive game in two weeks (after his suspension was done, the Rockies assigned Reyes to Triple-A Albuquerque on June 1). On Sunday, he struck out, grounded softly to third and reached on a fielder's choice when his high popup was misplayed by Renegades third baseman Jim Haley.

In the field, Reyes caught two popups, one in foul ground, and ended the sixth by cleanly fielding a routine grounder. He had never played anywhere besides the middle infield during his professional career.

The four-time All-Star primarily has played shortstop throughout his 13-year major league career, but the Mets plan to use Reyes elsewhere on the diamond -- perhaps even the outfield.

"It doesn't matter what position I play here because I'm going to feel comfortable, I'm going to feel happy," Reyes said. "I'm going to try the best I can to be better at that position, whatever they want to put me in."

Reyes sported his familiar No. 7 and a blue-and-orange Mets helmet in lieu of the double-flap model typically worn in the minors.

The Cyclones said they sold 2,500 tickets in 24 hours after the Mets announced Reyes would debut Sunday in Brooklyn.

Colorado released Reyes on Saturday and is responsible for the $38,021,858 remaining in his contract: $12,021,858 of this year's $22 million salary, next year's $22 million salary and a $4 million buyout of a 2018 club option. If Reyes is added the Mets' 40-man roster, New York would be responsible for just a prorated share of the $507,500 minimum, which would be offset against what the Rockies owe.

Reyes' agent, Peter Greenberg, said the Mets signed Reyes to a one-year contract with a club option for 2017.

"This gives them the option to call him up in five days or six days," Greenberg said. "And if it takes 10 days or it takes more, then you know. I don't anticipate. He's in shape. Like I said, he played short not too long ago at Triple-A at a high level. He does need to get comfortable with the new position."

Information from ESPN's Marly Rivera and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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