Reyes sprains ankle, but should be OK

The Mets appear to have survived a major scare regarding infielder Jose Reyes, who went down to a painful ankle injury not once but twice Wednesday night at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. <P> The 21-year-old Reyes originally twisted his right ankle in the third inning, sliding into second base on the stadium's artificial turf, but remained in the game long enough to re-aggravate it in the fifth.

The Mets are calling the injury a sprain, but luckily for the club, Reyes is considered day-to-day -- even more encouraging, the often-fragile infielder could even be pronounced in good enough condition to play on Thursday as the Mets try to salvage a split of a four-game series with the Montreal Expos.

Mets fans had to fear the worst, however, watching Reyes writhe in pain on his back after sliding in on a double. His rookie season ended in similar fashion last August 31, as Reyes suffered a Grade 2 sprain of his left ankle.

Wednesday brought Reyes his sixth leg injury in the past two years and the second of this season – a spring training hamstring strain knocked Reyes out of the Mets lineup for almost three months – but Mets manager Art Howe seemed to express no regrets after the game about leaving his star infielder in long enough to suffer the same injury twice.

In fact, to the contrary, Howe seemed to show the glee of a schoolchild passing a spelling exam. Howe told reporters that he was "proud of him. I'm glad he stayed in the game.

"You start taking people out for a little bit of this, a little bit of that, they'll never deal with any discomfort," Howe told reporters, vaguely touching upon the organizational belief that Reyes had babied his way back from the hamstring injury this spring.

When Reyes returns to action, be it Thursday or at a later date, the surest way to tell if his legs are back in order will be his stolen base totals.

Reyes admitted that he was beginning to feel like the speedster of last season in the last two weeks, as exhibited by his sudden surge in steals – he'd stolen nine bases in the last eight games coming into Wednesday's action, including three games with two swiped bags. He is 12-for-13 this season in steal opportunities.

Mets Notes

  • Third baseman David Wright was held out of the starting lineup Wednesday but was on the field at Olympic Stadium early for extra fielding practice. Wright has three errors in his first six Major League games and said that he was going through a stretch of some sloppy footwork.

    Ty Wigginton, who figures to also see some time in left field following the club's suspension and possible release of Shane Spencer, made the start at third base.

  • Contrary to a report published in Wednesday's New York Daily News, the Mets deny that they are shopping outfielder Cliff Floyd. GM Jim Duquette said that the club has no interest in dealing any of their cornerstone veteran talent, which includes Floyd, Tom Glavine, Al Leiter and Richard Hidalgo.

    The New York Post noted Thursday that, even though Pirates hurler Kris Benson is widely believed to be headed to the Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh is still scouting St. Lucie Mets outfielder Lastings Milledge.

    The Mets have already told the Pirates that they'd be willing to part with Wigginton and Double-A hurler Matt Peterson for Benson.

  • Mike Piazza started Wednesday for the first time in seven games, following a sprained left wrist suffered last Wednesday against the Florida Marlins. Playing first base, Piazza went 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.

    Bryan Hoch is the managing editor of New York Mets Inside Pitch Magazine.

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