Albert Pujols won’t play in games before mid-March

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Albert Pujols declined to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic because he’s still recovering from offseason knee surgery and now it turns out he won’t be playing any spring training games for a while either.

Pujols told reporters today that he’s targeting mid-March for his Cactus League debut, which would give him about two weeks to get ready for the season.

Pujols’ knee surgery was called “minor” and there’s no indication that his status for Opening Day is in jeopardy, but four months after going under the knife his recovery is still an issue.

Jose Reyes is hitless in 20 plate appearances to start the season

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Mets backup infielder Jose Reyes pinch-hit and popped up in the top of the eighth inning of Thursday night’s game in Atlanta against the Braves. That ran his streak up to 20 consecutive hitless plate appearances to start the 2018 season. He has reached base once, however, on a walk, so there’s that.

Reyes, 34, signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Mets near the end of January. At the time, the Mets hadn’t yet signed Todd Frazier, so Reyes was in the mix to contribute as a utilityman but he has operated as a bat off the bench for the most part this season.

One wonders how much longer the Mets are going to let Reyes flounder. According to FanGraphs, he has already been worth a half-win less than a replacement-level player. Only eight other players have been as bad or worse this season.