- Adam Rubin, ESPN Staff Writer
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Jose Reyes’ reunion with the Mets did not last long.
Reyes grounded back to R.A. Dickey on the second pitch of the bottom of the first inning and exited after a rain delay halted play in the middle of the third inning without another trip to the plate. Afterward, Reyes suggested, Thursday's Mets-Marlins game did not feel overly meaningful. The significance will be far greater when he visits Citi Field for his first series at Citi Field in a Marlins uniform, April 24-26.
"This is nothing," said Reyes, whose hair is now cut tightly and dyed brown. "It's going to be a little crazy when I go back to New York. This is spring training. This is just another game."
Reyes batted righty against Dickey, as some switch-hitters choose to do against a knuckleballer.
"Once he gets in the box, he's another baseball player, just like anybody else really," Dickey said.
Still, Dickey added: "He meant so much to so many people in the clubhouse. You know, he's a great guy and a good friend. So it's not just like somebody you're an acquaintance with going on to another team. This guy obviously has been a Met his whole career and made a difference to a lot of people in the clubhouse. So it's a little different."
The former teammates who made the trip to Jupiter greeted the shortstop warmly. Reyes defected for a six-year, $106 million contract. Reyes has continued to text with David Wright and also keeps in touch with Ike Davis and Justin Turner, the shortstop said.
"When I was running there to warm up for the game, every guy went there to say hello to me," Reyes said.
The "Jo-se, Jo-se" chants have not made their way to the Marlins' spring-training complex, but when the team played a pair of exhibition games against college teams in its new stadium in Miami, the familiar chant started to percolate.
Of course, leaving New York didn't completely eradicate tabloid topics.
Marlins president David Samson was quoted during a speech to South Florida businessmen saying that Reyes told him during the recruiting process that all he wanted was $1 more than any other bidder in order to choose Miami. Reyes insisted Thursday he never uttered that remark.
"I have no idea where that's coming from," Reyes said. "I don't know. I didn't even know that. My agent is who told me. I don't know why he said that. I have no idea. No, no, at any point I don't think I said that to him. I don't know where that comes from."
As for the Marlins being the free spenders this past offseason and the Mets in austerity, Reyes said: "This team, they signed a couple of pieces on the field. They want to win. Before I signed here, I saw what they're trying to do. That's why I came here to Miami, because of the opportunity to win. I've been like nine years in the big leagues and I didn't win anything yet. We went to the playoffs once in New York. I want to win a World Series. I think on this team I have a better opportunity."
As Reyes spoke postgame, he wore a sleeveless T-shirt with "305" across the chest, which Hanley Ramirez had given to his Marlins teammates to wear in the weight room. Ramirez has moved to third base to accommodate Reyes' signing.
"It's been good," Reyes said about their relationship. "A lot of people, before we come to spring training, say a lot of stuff that me and Hanley wouldn't get along together. I don't know where people get that from, because me and Hanley have a very good relationship. Now we're on the same team; it's even better. Almost every day I go to his house, he comes to my house, to play PlayStation and stuff like that. We've been spending a lot of time together. We're very happy to be on the same team."
Since they both cannot be the Marlins in the video game, Reyes plays the Boston Red Sox, while Ramirez plays the Philadelphia Phillies.
Reyes, by the way, plans to keep his Manhasset, Long Island, home and live there at least through next offseason. He will reside in downtown Miami, not far from the Marlins' new stadium, during the season.
Jason Bay said the only unusual thing about Thursday's reunion was Reyes' closely cropped hair.
"He looked kind of funny with no hair and a small head," Bay said.
Said Reyes about his hair, which he cut at the Marlins' request and auctioned for charity: "The first couple of days I missed it, but now I get used to it."
As for the Mets, Dickey said there are players who have filled the energy void left by Reyes' departure so far.
"You may not replace his exuberance with one person," Dickey said. "There have been a couple of people that are high-energy guys. Daniel Murphy is in there full time now. He definitely helps pick up the slack. I'm not disappointed with the guys that we have presently from an energy standpoint.
"Obviously you can't replace a Jose Reyes. He's tough. He's tough to replace. He's an All-Star. But we've got guys that do bring a lot of energy to the club. And I haven't really noticed a huge vacancy. Now, as time goes by, you'll have to measure that. But, right now, we're clicking on all cylinders."