Reds Lefty May Mean Green Light For Reyes

If the Reds start a left-hander on Tuesday, look for Jose Reyes to return to the lineup. The shortstop has missed the last six games with an injured right oblique.

Reyes said he felt no pain swinging right-handed before Monday night’s Mets-Reds game. He was set to face lefty Travis Wood on Tuesday before Wood was forced to pitch Monday night due to an Aaron Harang back injury. According to Cincinnati reporters, the Reds are hoping that the right-handed Harang can start on Tuesday.

Jerry Manuel said whom the Reds start Tuesday would “probably” affect his decision on playing Reyes. It was unclear if Manuel would play Reyes against a right-hander.

“I’m able to go tomorrow,” Reyes said before Monday’s game. “I’ve been hitting from the right side with no problem. I haven’t tried the left side but, at least the right side is good.”

Reyes said he hadn’t started swinging from the left side since he injured his right oblique during batting practice prior to the Mets-Marlins game last Wednesday. Reyes is hitting .310 in 87 at-bats as a right-handed batter and .265 in 223 left-handed at-bats.

COMEBACK FALLS SHORT: The Mets battled back from a 7-1 deficit with a five-run fifth but couldn’t rally in the late innings against the Reds bullpen. Reds closer Francisco Cordero, who came into the game with a 5.79 career ERA against the Mets, got through Ike Davis (pop out to left) and Jason Bay (fly out to center) to end the game with David Wright stranded on first.

Wright finished 2-for-4, his 20th muli-hit game since May 30th. He is hitting .475 with five RBI over the last nine games. Wright also said he will not be participating in the home-run derby at the All-Star Game in Anaheim.

Alex Cora went 2-for-3 with a two-run double to right field in the Mets’ five-run fifth. He has hit safely in six straight games.

FRANCOEUR’S A FIREBALLER: Jeff Francoeur recorded his seventh outfield assist of the season when he threw out Joey Votto trying to advance from third on a Scott Rolen flyout in the ninth inning. Francoeur is tied for second in the majors in assists, one behind Houston's Michael Bourn, who has eight. His 77 outfield assists since 2005 are the most in the majors over that five-plus year span.

VOTTO HITS 21: You think Votto wanted to show people they made a mistake in not selecting him for the All-Star Game? The Reds first baseman went 3-for-4 with two home runs and three runs scored in his first full game since learning that he was snubbed on Sunday (he was ejected in the first inning of Sunday’s game against the Cubs). His homer in the sixth inning (his 21st of the season) off of Fernando Nieve gave the Reds a comfortable 8-6 cushion. Votto’s .368 batting average against the Mets ranks third among active players with at least 72 at-bats, according to ESPN Stats & Research. He can still be voted onto the All-Star team if he wins the fan vote.

OLIVER ON THE HILL: Oliver Perez will make his second rehab start on Tuesday in Port St. Lucie. The lefty will pitch against the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Perez allowed four earned runs on five hits while striking out seven and walking won in six innings against Jupiter on June 30. Perez has been on the disabled list since June 5 with tendinitis in his right knee.

NO TIMETABLE FOR MAINE: Omar Minaya said that there is no timetable for John Maine (shoulder) to begin a minor-league rehab stint. Minaya also said there is no timetable for Luis Castillo (bruised right heel) to start playing in minor-league games.

JOZY IN THE HOUSE: United States striker Jozy Altidore attended the Mets-Reds game on Monday night. He joked before the game with David Wright, telling the Mets third baseman that the last game he attended was last August, when Wright took a Matt Cain fastball to the head. Wright jokingly told Altidore to “get out of here” before praising Altidore’s efforts in South Africa.

“It was good following you guys,” Wright said. “You guys did a heckuva job. We were living and dying by every game.”

To read Altidore’s take on the United States’ strikers scoring troubles, check out ESPNNewYork.com’s soccer blog.