Reyes reaches, then passes 2,000-hit plateau

Shortstop appreciates attaining milestone in front of Mets faithful

Reyes reaches, then passes 2,000-hit plateau

NEW YORK -- There was a time in Jose Reyes' career when he thought he'd easily get to 2,000 hits. There was also a time when he wondered if he'd ever return to a Major League diamond.

"I was sitting on my couch at home," Reyes said Saturday. "I didn't know if I'd ever play in the Major Leagues again."

That was last June, after Reyes served his suspension for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence Policy and after he had played nine games for the Rockies' Triple-A team in Albuquerque. The Rockies told him he wasn't coming back to the Major Leagues with them.

Eventually, they simply released him.

Fast forward from there to Saturday night, to Reyes standing at first base acknowledging cheers of Mets fans and congratulations from teammates and opponents after finally getting that 2,000th hit. He got that hit and two more in the Mets' 7-5 win over the Angels, pushing his batting average over .200 (.205) for the first time this season.

"It's hard to believe I got my 2,000th hit here," said Reyes, who began his career with the Mets and had 1,300 career hits when he left as a free agent after the 2011 season. "Like I've always said, I never thought I'd be back here."

Reyes came back last year, and he's back again now. He's also back from the depths he experienced early this season. Reyes was batting just .095 through April 22, and he was losing playing time at third base.

Now, with Asdrubal Cabrera on the disabled list, Reyes is back playing shortstop, at least temporarily. He's also back near the top of the Mets' lineup, batting second behind Michael Conforto in three of the last four games.

"The mixture has been working," said Conforto, who was on base four times and scored three runs Saturday. "I'm looking forward to it continuing."

It certainly worked Saturday. Conforto walked to lead off the first inning against Angels starter Alex Meyer. With Conforto running, Reyes singled past shortstop Andrelton Simmons for his first hit of the night and the 2,000th of his career. Conforto later scored on a forceout to give the Mets an early lead.

Reyes is one of eight active Major League players with 2,000 hits, joining Ichiro Suzuki, Adrian Beltre, Albert Pujols, Carlos Beltran, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano and Matt Holliday. His 1,398 hits with the Mets are the third most in franchise history, behind David Wright (1,777) and Ed Kranepool (1,418).

Reyes' two-run single

Conforto walked and Reyes singled again in the third, leading to the Mets' second run. Conforto doubled and Reyes walked in the fifth, when the Mets scored two more. And it was Reyes' two-run single in the eighth that gave the Mets the runs they needed to secure their second straight win in this series.

Mets manager Terry Collins said he kept faith in Reyes, even when he was at his lowest point this season, because his track record showed he can hit. Reyes said he never lost faith in himself, either.

"I'm just a happy kid from the Dominican Republic, playing baseball," Reyes said. "Here I am, playing the game I love."

Here he is, with 2,002 career hits.

Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.