Jose Reyes set for Tuesday return

NEW YORK -- New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes tested his injured hamstring in a minor league rehab game with the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones on Monday and proclaimed himself ready for the big leagues.

Manager Terry Collins agreed with that assessment.

"He's good to go tomorrow," Collins said after the Mets' 4-1 loss to the Florida Marlins on Monday night.

After going 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored for Single-A Brooklyn on Monday afternoon, Reyes returned to Citi Field and huddled with Collins, trainer Ray Ramirez and general manager Sandy Alderson.

"He came back, told everybody he felt great and he said 'I'll see you tomorrow,'" the Mets manager said of Reyes, who has been out since July 3 with a left hamstring strain.

The Mets will also likely get Carlos Beltran for Tuesday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Beltran has missed the last three games due to a virus that caused severe fever and aches.

Beltran was out of the lineup Monday but was prepared to pinch-hit late in the game. Collins said afterward that he will put Beltran in the lineup on Tuesday.

As for Reyes, he reported no pain after playing six innings Monday for the Cyclones.

"Everything went good," Reyes said. "I feel happy about it. I was able to move around a little bit in the field with no problem. Hopefully, I'm playing (for the Mets on Tuesday)."

Before Monday's game, Reyes posed for pictures and signed autographs -- for his new teammates.

"I got a chance to talk to a lot of them," Reyes said. "It was a lot of fun. I bought them dinner."

Then he got down to business.

Reyes was eligible to come off the DL on Monday, but the Mets took a cautious approach and wanted him to play one minor league rehab game to see how his hamstring responded to game action.

It didn't take long for everyone to find out.

Reyes hustled down to first base after lining out in the first and grounding out to second in the third. He doubled off the base of the left-center field wall in the sixth and coasted in to second. He later advanced to third and scored on a bloop single.

"I've been running the last five or six days and doing a lot of leg testing," Reyes said. "So far, so good. I didn't worry about anything, I just want to play the game."

Collins said on Monday that he'd closely monitor Reyes upon his return because the Mets are scheduled to play 15 straight games from Tuesday through August 2nd.

"I'm going to be very cautious of him in Florida (where the Mets play from July 22-24), take a good hard look at what he's doing, because any time you start to strain muscles, a lot of it's due to dehydration in the muscles," Collins said. "And you're talking about going down to (Florida) where you're going to start sweating from the minute you leave the clubhouse until you go back in the clubhouse at the end of the game. So I'm going to take a look at him real closely in Florida. But he said he's gonna be fine, he's ready and we'll do a much better job of monitoring here especially to make sure that he's OK."

Reyes reported no issues on Monday in Brooklyn, where the game time temperature was 90 degrees.

"It was really hot out," Reyes said. "But other than that, it was perfect."

Reyes came out onto the field in the seventh so that he could receive a standing ovation as he walked back to the dugout. He spoke briefly with the media before being hoarded by droves of camp kids, signing a few autographs and leaving in a black car with Mets security.

He said he didn't approach the game any differently, even though he was playing in the minors.

"You have to run to first, second, field ground balls, it's the same game," Reyes said. "I played in the minors (Monday) and I'll (probably) be in the majors (Tuesday), but it's still baseball."

Alderson, vice president of player development and scouting Paul DePodesta, Reyes' agent, Peter Greenberg and Ramirez were all on hand.

Ramirez sat in the first row, while Alderson, DePodesta and Greenberg kept a close eye on Reyes from a luxury suite behind home plate.

Reyes, who is slated to become a free agent at season's end, leads the majors with 15 triples and a .354 batting average. He also leads the majors in multihit games (43).

His 30 stolen bases rank second in the majors and are 18 more than the Cyclones had as a team combined during the 2011 season, prior to Monday.

The Mets should get a boost to an offense that mustered just three hits on Monday night with the return of Reyes and Beltran. Beltran had been sick since Friday night with an illness that caused a fever of "104 to 105" degrees.

Prior to Monday night's games, Beltran led the National League with 28 doubles and was tied for third with 44 extra-base hits.

"No question," Collins said when asked if his team should expect an improved offense with Beltran and Reyes back in the fold. "There's no doubt. Any team in this league that loses guys like that is going to have a tough time getting offense generated."

Reyes ran in a straight line to test the injury on Saturday and followed that up by running the bases with no setbacks on Sunday.

It was clear early on that he was ready to go on Monday.

Reyes arrived at the ballpark around 10 a.m. He fielded grounders and did some light jogging in the outfield before the game, but he didn't sign any autographs.

Reyes had never played for the Cyclones prior to Monday afternoon's game. He is the 13th Met to play for the Cyclones as part of a rehab assignment and first since Beltran, who played in five games with Class A Brooklyn from Sept. 2-6, 2009.

Mike Mazzeo and Ian Begley are frequent contributors to ESPNNewYork.com.