Reyes returns to Mets lineup vs. Reds

NEW YORK -- Shortstop Jose Reyes returned to the New York Mets' lineup on Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds, after missing the last six games with an injured right oblique.

Reyes went 2-for-4 with a run in the Mets' 3-0 win.

Reyes tweaked his oblique last Wednesday during batting practice prior to the Mets-Florida Marlins game in San Juan.

The switch-hitting Reyes said he felt "good" swinging right-handed on Tuesday night. He took some left-handed swings before the game on Tuesday and said the injury "still bothered" him from the left side. Reyes said he doesn't have any pain defensively when he's playing shortstop.

The three-time All-Star said he was nervous prior to his first at-bat Tuesday night against Reds lefty Matt Maloney.

"I didn't play since six days ago and I still felt something there, so I don't know what's going to happen," he said.

But he felt comfortable after hitting a fly ball to center to lead off the first. He beat out an infield single in the third and slid feet-first into second after Orlando Cabrera's throwing error allowed him to advance. Reyes normally slides head-first, but he said he will eschew the head-first slide for now to protect his right side.

"It's a dangerous injury so I don't want to aggravate it," said Reyes, who had bunt hit and run scored in the sixth. "... I just wanted to get through this game tonight."

Mets manager Jerry Manuel said Reyes will hit solely from the right side on Wednesday against Reds right-hander Bronson Arroyo.

"It's a little weird, it's a little different," Reyes said of hitting from the right side of the plate against a right-handed pitcher. Reyes said the only right-hander he faces from the right side is New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

But he's willing to make the adjustment to get back on the field.

"I just want to be in the lineup," the Mets shortstop added. "It's no matter if I face a right-hander I'm gonna hit righty. I just want to be in the lineup to help this team win every single day."

Ruben Tejada had started in place of Reyes since June 30.

The Mets have been cautious with Reyes' injury. The team hoped he'd be back in the lineup during the Nationals series last weekend but the shortstop's return was delayed because he continued to feel pain.

Given Reyes' injury history and the vital role he's played in the Mets' resurgence this season, the team has every reason to be cautious.

Reyes suffered a mild right hamstring tear in May 2009. He tried to rush back to the lineup only to aggravate the injury. He eventually was shut down for the rest of the season.

On Monday, Reyes said he was eager to return to the field. "I want to be there," he said. "I don't want to be in the dugout."

The Mets' shortstop is batting .277 with six home runs and 32 RBIs and was selected to his third All-Star Game. He said he will go to Anaheim to participate in festivities, but is unsure if he will play in the game.

Ian Begley is a contributor to ESPNNewYork.com

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