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A Farewell for Reyes?

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New York Mets' Jose Reyes warms up before a baseball game between the Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday, July 19, 2011, at Citi Field in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

New York Mets’ Jose Reyes warms up before a baseball game between the Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday, July 19, 2011, at Citi Field in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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By MIKE FITZPATRICK
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Jose Reyes knows this could be his last
homestand with the New York Mets, and even his manager was
wondering if that’s weighing on his mind.

“Probably today, no. But you know, when it gets closer and
closer like Monday and Tuesday, maybe I’ll (be) thinking about it a
little bit because I don’t know if I’m going to be back next year,
to be honest with you,” Reyes said Friday. “It’s going to be
interesting to see what’s going to happen and everything. But right
now I just want to finish all these games strong and help this team
to win the most games that we can.”

With their star shortstop eligible for free agency after the
season, the Mets were set to begin their final homestand of the
year Friday night before the series opener against NL East champion
Philadelphia was postponed because of rain.

The game, which never started, will be made up as part of a
day-night doubleheader Saturday _ though showers are in the
forecast again. The first game is slated to begin at 1:10 p.m.,
with the nightcap set for 7:10 p.m.

That means Mets fans might have only five more days to cheer
Reyes as one of their own. After facing the Phillies three times,
New York ends the season with a three-game set against Cincinnati.

A homegrown All-Star in the prime of his career, the speedy
Reyes had a huge first half before hamstring injuries slowed him
this summer. He’s a fan favorite who fits perfectly at cavernous
Citi Field, but it’s uncertain if the cash-strapped Mets can afford
to keep him in 2012 and beyond.

“I actually thought about that on the plane last night _ would
these be his last games?” manager Terry Collins said. “And my
first thought was, this guy has enough on his mind right now with
the legs, the contract, batting title, and I knew that somebody was
going to ask the question about, is Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
going to be the last three days here?

“I think it’s going to be very hard for him,” Collins added.
“There’s going to be huge distractions. But the one thing I think
that he has going in his favor, is that when he crosses those
lines, he plays baseball. And I am sure if there’s one guy who
can’t wait until it’s 7:10, it would be Jose Reyes. So I hope he
just understands, go play and have some fun.”

Reyes said he and Collins “had a good conversation” about all
those things Friday.

“We’re on the same page,” Reyes said.

The switch-hitter is batting .329, which was one point behind NL
leader Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers going into Friday. The
Mets, born in 1962, have never had a batting champion.

“I know,” Reyes said with a smile. “Next couple of days,
we’ll find out.

“I don’t think about that to be honest with you because if I
put that kind of stuff in my head, when I go to home plate I’m not
going to do what I love to do,” he added. “But if it happens,
that’s going to mean a lot for me.”

The Phillies are winless since wrapping up their fifth
consecutive division title last Saturday, having lost a
season-worst six in a row. They are averaging 2.47 runs while going
5-10 in their last 15 games, scoring three or fewer 13 times during
that stretch.

Not exactly how they want to be swinging the bats heading into
the NL playoffs, where the pitching-rich Phillies will be heavy
favorites thanks to a fearsome rotation that features Roy Halladay,
Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt.

“We want to get winning. We want to get rolling,” said center
fielder Shane Victorino, who went 0 for 15 during Washington’s
four-game sweep in Philadelphia this week. “You’ve got to figure
it out sooner than later.”

Hamels had been slated to pitch Friday night against New York
knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Both starters were pushed back to the
first game Saturday, when Hamels will try to match a career high
with his 15th win.

Mets rookie Dillon Gee starts the nightcap against Joe Blanton,
with the Phillies planning to use their bullpen extensively.

During the final week of the regular season, Major League
Baseball makes the call on rainouts in order to preserve the
integrity of pennant races. Across town, the Boston Red Sox and New
York Yankees also had their game postponed in a series with much
more at stake than the one at Citi Field.

“It’s really an extra night’s sleep, if anything,” said
Dickey, who is 4-5 during a run of 11 consecutive quality starts.
“It can be to your benefit, because you have one extra day to kind
of recover.”

NOTES: The start time of Sunday’s game was moved back an hour to
2:10 p.m. … Mets RF Lucas Duda is still having headaches after
crashing into the outfield fence Wednesday in St. Louis. He had an
MRI exam and Collins said Duda won’t play until the team receives
the results and the headaches go away. Collins also said, however,
that Duda’s production at the plate has earned him a projected
starting spot in the outfield going into next season. … New York
CF Angel Pagan also is having headaches after hitting himself in
the back of the head on a backswing Thursday. Pagan was pulled from
the posted lineup and replaced by Jason Pridie.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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