Jose Reyes just wants to play. That’s why, even though his left ankle isn’t 100 per cent, the Blue Jays shortstop hasn’t had a day off since he returned to the lineup in late June.
So it wasn’t surprising in Saturday to see him range to his left on a grounder up the middle and have no play. But as he showed by providing the game-winning run against the Oakland Athletics with a solo homer in the bottom of the same inning, Reyes is invaluable to his team.
“It’s been bothering me since I’ve been back, but I’m able to play like that,” Reyes said of a sprained left ankle that cost him half of April, all of May and most of June. “I don’t worry about it when I’m on the field. Happen whatever happen. I’m just happy to be on the field helping my ball club.”
Reyes has come to deal with the pain. He arrives at the ballpark early each day to get treatment, and it’s taped after games.
On the field, he said he knows how to control himself. Reyes plays because he can’t make the injury any worse.
“Sometimes I feel worse and sometimes I feel better,” he said. “I’m just happy to be on the field, man. No matter how bad that I feel, I’m going to be there because I missed so much time this year.”
Reyes is hitting .309 with nine homers and 28 RBIs in just 50 games. That’s with an ankle that hasn’t been right all year.
“No question it’s bothering him, especially when he goes to his left up the middle,” manager John Gibbons said. “But he’s healthy enough to play and he’s doing a good job for us. That’s probably one of those things, until he gets the off-season to let it heal, it’s going to bother him, probably, the rest of the season.”
Still, Gibbons said, the Blue Jays “need him out there.” Reyes is a strong lead-off hitter, and he showed again Saturday that he has flashes of power, too.
“We knew he had some pop in his bat, and you come to this ballpark, he could hit 20 a year,” Gibbons said. “He missed so much time with his ankle, but in a full season, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit. He’s got a good, short, little swing.”
REDDICK STAYS HOT
A’s right-fielder Josh Reddick now has five home runs in two games against the Blue Jays after hitting two Saturday. Reddick conceded he was surprising himself.
“A little bit, yeah,” Reddick said. “It’s kind of unbelievable.”
Reddick hit a two-run shot off Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle in the second inning, then a solo homer off closer Casey Janssen in the ninth. After watching Reddick hit three Friday night, Buehrle said his approach was hoping he doesn’t hit the ball hard.
“He must be seeing the softball right now because he’s hitting everything out,” Buehrle said.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin could sense confidence from Reddick, who only had five home runs this season going into this series at Rogers Centre.
Reddick is happy to be seeing results at the plate.
“I’m going into the batter’s box a lot more comfortable and feeling like they can’t get me out right now,” Reddick said. “Constant work is finally paying off, watching video is finally paying off.
“Hopefully this is something I can stick with and continue doing it for the rest of the year.”