Jose Reyes reported to Mets camp yesterday ahead of schedule, stepped onto a field for the first time since August, and declared himself back to “normal” again after missing all but 36 games last season with a torn hamstring.
Reyes said that he’s “been feeling very good” lately and admitted that he “tried to come back too soon” at the training staff’s urging last season, leading to a partial tear becoming a full tear that required surgery.
Here’s a longer Reyes quote, from Adam Rubin’s article in the New York Daily News:
I have to think it’s over. I’m working for that. I’m working so hard to try to stay healthy. I have to be strong in my mind. Hopefully that will never happen again. I’m really happy just to be here. It’s exciting just to be on the field for the first time.
Given all the Mets’ problems last year it seems kind of silly to point to one player’s return as crucial, but in the previous three seasons Reyes batted .292 with a .355 on-base percentage and .461 slugging percentage while averaging 66 extra-base hits, 66 steals, and 118 runs. Getting that production atop the lineup and his strong defense at shortstop for 150 games this year would go a long way toward turning the team around.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to retain his position with the club beyond the 2018 season, according to multiple reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nothing appears to be finalized just yet, however, and the Orioles have yet to address rumors of Showalter’s impending departure or news of a possible contract extension for general manager Dan Duquette.
Even so, it’s been a year of near-unprecedented disaster for the 62-year-old skipper, who helped lead the team to a 44-108 record prior to the outcome of Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. With the Orioles’ 108th loss — a 4-6 heartbreaker against the Blue Jays on Tuesday — they tied the 1937 St. Louis Browns for the second-most losses in a single season, eclipsed only by the 43-111 record of the 1939 Browns. As they have just 10 games remaining in the regular season, this year’s team has no chance of climbing out of last place in the AL East and may well finish with the worst record in the AL to boot.
While the Orioles’ missteps don’t bode well for Showalter’s future in Baltimore, he’s brought far more good than harm to the organization over the last eight and a half years. He assumed the managerial position from interim manager Juan Samuel in the middle of the team’s 2010 season and guided the club to five winning seasons and three postseason appearances in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Entering the 2018 season, his record sits at 666 wins and 677 losses, the winningest mark by any of the team’s skippers since Earl Weaver wrapped his 17-season run with the team in 1986. Whether the Orioles believe Showalter is capable of recovering from two consecutive losing seasons and returning the team to their former days of glory (and the occasional division title) remains to be seen, of course, though there’s plenty to recommend him as they prepare to advance a full-scale rebuild over the offseason.