- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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New York Mets
It's easy to discern between a runner who is busting it up the line at full speed and one who is taking the leisurely jog to first base.
The middle ground between those two efforts is what Terry Collins would like to see more from Jose Reyes, in the hopes of keeping the shortstop healthy.
Collins wants less of Reyes always going 100 percent on all the balls he hits, specifically those that he's not likely to get a hit on. Instead, Collins wants a run to first base in which Reyes is toning it down a notch but not quite at a jog.
If your head is spinning, it's understandable.
"Ultimately, a guy who's this important to this team, and his legs are his game, he's got to some how understand what it takes to take care of his legs," Collins said. "That might mean the routine fly ball -- look, we understand three quarters, we can buy that. It's just his mentality. And that's why he brings that huge energy to the club. We're not asking him to jog to first base. We're just asking him to know when he has to bust it, and when he doesn't."
As Collins explained, the Mets would like to see Reyes get back to the form that he was in earlier in the season, when he established himself as an MVP candidate, but they have to make sure he can stay healthy. Collins used the example of Reyes wearing himself down by getting on base three times, stealing a few bags and then not having time for his legs to recuperate for the next day's game.
That's where this run-but-don't-jog ploy comes into play. If he has a chance to beat it out, the Mets want him to pursue that. On balls that might be easy outs, though, they don’t mind seeing him tone it down a notch to try and save some wear and tear on the legs. Yet, they're not asking him to do a jog to first base.
It's fine line that Reyes is going to have to try to walk -- or run -- over the final three weeks of the season.
"What we have to do is somehow educate him that, look, it doesn't always have to be 100 percent," Collins said. "It sounds like you're asking him not to hustle, that's not it."