One day after reuniting with the Mets on a minor league deal, Jose Reyes made his debut with the Low-A Brooklyn Cyclones on Sunday in preparation for joining the major league roster in the coming days. Greeted with loud applause and even the familiar “Jose-Jose-Jose-Jose” chant from a capacity crowd at MCU Park in Brooklyn, Reyes played six innings and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout from the leadoff spot.
Reyes spoke with reporters after the game and said that he was “a little bit emotional” at the positive response from fans. His return to the Mets was only made possible after he was dumped by the Rockies following a 52-game suspension from MLB for a domestic violence incident with his wife. Reyes was arrested last October 31 in Hawaii on charges of assaulting his wife, Katherine. She told police that he grabbed her by the throat and shoved her into a sliding glass door. Charges were later dropped after she did not cooperate with prosecutors.
Per David Lennon of Newsday, Reyes repeatedly apologized during his postgame comments and used the phrase “terrible mistake” to describe the violent incident with his wife. He can’t get into specifics about the event in question because there’s still a chance the case can be reopened if there’s cause. The statute of limitations for the case expires on October 31, 2017.
“I’m a human being,” he said. “People make mistakes. But I’m going to stand up for the terrible mistake that I made and say I’m sorry it happened like that — to my wife, to my family, to all the fans who follow me . . . People that don’t like me anymore, I respect that, because I put myself in that situation. But people need a second chance.”
Reyes’ wife was in attendance for Sunday’s game.
The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.
In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.
The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.
Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”
It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.
It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.