NEW YORK -- It was hours before game time, and the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones were taking batting practice. Five Brooklyn players were scattered to the right of the BP cage, their necks rotating in unison to follow the flight of the ball.The back of their navy blue warm-ups bared
NEW YORK -- It was hours before game time, and the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones were taking batting practice. Five Brooklyn players were scattered to the right of the BP cage, their necks rotating in unison to follow the flight of the ball.
The back of their navy blue warm-ups bared numbers: 10, 44, 3, 33. And, to the far right, a four-time All Star clad in blue and orange shorts on one knee. No. 7.
Jose Reyes' return to the Mets began Sunday afternoon with Brooklyn, where he is slated to play again Monday before moving on to either Double-A Binghamton or Triple-A Las Vegas.
Reyes, who was waived by the Rockies on Thursday following a violation of MLB's domestic abuse policy, played third base and hit leadoff. He went 0-for-3 against the Hudson Valley Renegades, Class A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, in front of an announced crowd of 7,851 at MCU Park.
After the Saturday announcement that Reyes would play in Brooklyn, the Cyclones sold 2,500 tickets in a 24-hour span. It's a product of a mutual affection between Reyes and New York City.
"In Spanish, he said, 'I'm like a little kid with a new toy,'" Reyes' agent, Peter Greenberg said. "He couldn't be happier. He said he didn't sleep for two nights when we were waiting for the deal to finalize."
Reyes admitted he wasn't happy in Colorado after coming over from Toronto in a midseason trade last season. Greenberg echoed that sentiment, adding Reyes was depressed and he even tried to get him traded to the Mets.
Four years after initially leaving an organization Reyes referred to as, "home," he arrived in Brooklyn amid much fanfare.
After exiting the game in the middle of the sixth, he addressed the media. The domestic violence incident was asked about and Reyes continually expressed regret and pleaded for a second chance.
"I'm sorry to everybody, from the bottom of my heart," Reyes said. "I made a huge mistake."
Reyes acknowledged many people don't like him anymore, and some never will.
"They have every reason to," he said.
But Sunday, he was showered with adoration by the Cyclones fans. Reyes, who hit .259 with the Rockies last season, was serenaded by chants of "Jose! Jose! Jose!" during his first at-bat before striking out swinging. In the third inning, he swung at the first pitch and grounded out to third.
In his third and final at-bat, Reyes reached first on a fielder's choice.
Playing at third for six innings, Reyes was relatively unchallenged. He caught a popup in foul territory in the second inning and another on the infield grass in the fifth. He got his first grounder in the sixth, fielding it with a nifty scoop and throw to record the out.
Reyes has spent the vast majority of his career playing shortstop, with 43 appearances at second base in 2004. He's never played anywhere else, and former Mets All-Star infielder Edgardo Alfonzo is helping him learn the position.
Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.