BROOKLYN, NY – On June 26, 2016, over 7,800 fans witnessed one of the most highly anticipated games in Brooklyn Cyclones history as Jose Reyes made his return to the New York Mets organization with two games at MCU Park after signing a minor league contract. Recovering from a left oblique strain, Reyes began a second rehab stint in Brooklyn on Thursday, playing five innings at third base and went 0-for-1 with two walks, two steals, and a run scored in a 7-4 Cyclones victory over the Vermont Lake Monsters.
Unlike his 0-for-5 showing in his last stint in Brooklyn, his first game on Thursday evening began auspiciously for Reyes. Facing Oakland A’s prospect Dakota Chalmers, Reyes led off the Cyclones’ first inning with a walk and promptly stole second with a head-first slide and eventually was stranded at third when Brandon Brosher grounded out to end the inning.
“I feel more comfortable now in Brooklyn than I did the last time I was there (in late June). There is no pressure for me. I know the Mets are going through a tough time right now. I want to be there in the clubhouse for them. They have had a rough couple of games of late, and hopefully, I can be there soon,” Reyes said.
When Reyes came up to bat in the third inning, the script was unchanged from his first plate appearance. Reyes ran the count full to draw a walk, promptly stole second, and was 90 feet away from scoring when Gene Cone reached base on a bunt single. Reyes scored the game’s first run on Nick Sergakis‘s bases loaded walk. The Cyclones added run courtesy of a Blake Tiberi sacrifice to take a 2-0 lead. Reyes batted again in the fourth and flew out to leftfield on one pitch to close his evening.
“I felt good to be back out there tonight,” Reyes said. “At least I took two swings and was able to steal two bases with no problem. I feel good. There aren’t any complaints my first game. If everything goes well, the Mets will give me the call on Sunday.”
Mets’ first-round pick Justin Dunn took the mound for the Cyclones in his fourth start of the season and put together his finest effort. Featuring a fastball touching 97 miles per hour and an effective changeup, Dunn proved untouchable against the Lake Monsters’ hitting, tossing three no-hit innings while striking out six. Dunn lowered his ERA to a microscopic 0.50 and continued to impress in Brooklyn.
“He is similar to Dwight Gooden at the same age because they are both athletic and have loose easy deliveries. Some pitchers will throw 97 MPH, and it looks like the shoulder will fall out of his socket. Dunn is like Doc where the ball comes out of his arm very easily. He looks like he is just playing catch,” Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa said regarding Dunn.
With a batting average which ranks 159th out of the 160 MiLB teams at .214, entering Thursday’s play, the Cyclones have struggled mightily to get on base consistently, but on a night when control escaped Vermont pitching, reaching base was an easy task for the Cyclones, who set a franchise record with 12 base on balls. The patient approach paid dividends in the seventh inning when Hengelbert Rojas singled home Blake Tiberi and Jay Jabs, each of whom walked in front of him to take a three-run lead.
Brooklyn’s fourth consecutive victory came at a devastating price as prized first base prospect Peter Alonso will miss the remainder of the season after breaking his thumb in two places during the opening game of the series against Vermont. The team hoped the swelling would subside, but chose to shut him down as a precautionary measure.
Reyes will return to the Cyclones for the first two games of series against the West Virginia Black Bears on Friday and Saturday and will play both third base or shortstop, though the Mets have yet to determine which position he’ll play first as of press time.