New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes is all smiles in his first batting practice since returning from a thyroid condition.

Jose Reyes took his first batting practice on Monday, and returned to “game” action today against the Cardinals’ Triple-A team, the Memphis Cardinals.  This morning, some rules were altered specifically for Jose’s return.  He was only going to bat, and he would only be allowed to run from home to first, no more.

Jose ended up going 1 for 5 with a double at the plate.  In his first at bat, Reyes broke a “rule”, as he hit a ball hard over the center fielder’s head.  He ran fairly hard to first, and then jogged easily into second for a stand up double, which would have easily been a triple if he were allowed to run.  Everyone on the bench yelled for him to stop at first.  Here’s his reaction:

“It’s hard for me to stop at first base when I see the ball all the way at the wall,” Reyes said. “I said, ‘I’m going to go to second.’ … If they let me run, I’m going to go to third base on that one, no doubt.”

After that at bat he had a fly out and three groundouts.  His most impressive test was when he ran hard down the line to try and beat out one of his groundouts.

Reyes also played three innings in the field, making an error in the second inning on the first grounder hit to him.  He fielded it cleanly, and then bobbled the ball getting it out of his glove.

After he came out of the game, Jose did some base running on a practice field, with owner Fred Wilpon in attendance.  He ran home to first, home to second, and first to third, and apparently looked very good doing it.

Tomorrow Reyes is scheduled to have a similar schedule to today, playing in another Minor League game, and doing some base running as well.  Reyes thinks that he can play in a game with the big leaguers, as he said he feels great.  As for opening day, we don’t know.  The Mets are scheduled to make some type of decision after tomorrow’s outing.

From what I’ve read and seen, Reyes looks and feels terrific.  I’m sure we won’t hear an opening day prediction for a few more days, but if I had to make a bet, I’d say he’d be on the field for the season opener on April 5.  The Mets will definitely need him as they face a brutal schedule to start off this coming season.

Check out Jose’s first at bat

photo credit:  nydailynews.com