After taking batting practice for the first time since injuring his left ankle on April 12, Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes pronounced himself “very happy” with the progress of recovery.
The American League team initially projected an absence of three months, recently amended the return date to possibly end-of-June, and now that target appears to be conservative.
Reyes, who is travelling on the seven-game road trip to Atlanta, San Diego and San Francisco that begins Wednesday, felt his ankle responded well enough to Monday’s batting practice to deem the session “a big step” as he was able to put pressure on the ankle without pain.
“I am going to come back when I am ready to go,” Reyes said Tuesday. “It could be two weeks, could be four weeks. You never know. I don’t want to put a timeline on it. I can’t say ‘two weeks’ because what if I don’t play? You never know with an ankle.”
The next step is a rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues, of undetermined length.
“When I get closer to full speed, we’re going to decide,” Reyes said. “I’m not full speed yet because [Friday] was my first time running. If I run full speed now, I could blow my ankle. Step by step.”
General manager Alex Anthopoulos acknowledged only that the original project – after the all-star break, or July 19 – has been reduced by two weeks.
“There’s a chance he can be back end of June. We’re not going to rush it,” Anthopoulos said. “At some point he’s got to start playing in games and build up to nine innings. How long does that take?”
Reyes said the next rung on the recovery ladder is to run the bases full out, which he’d expect to attempt once his ankle has recovered about 90 per cent of its strength. He suffered a similar sprain in September of 2003, with the New York Mets, and missed the first 21/2 months of the 2004 season with a hamstring strain.
Unlike New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who incurred a small fracture while recovering from his ankle ligament injury, there’s been “no setback yet,” Reyes said. “I’ve been in this situation before so I know what I am doing, and the trainers here are doing a great job.”