PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets played most of last season without their shortstop and first baseman. And now they will do so Monday when their 2010 season begins -- an understudy at short and one at first. And who knows what else might befall them before they depart the sunshine state?
Neither Daniel Murphy nor Jose Reyes will play on Opening Day. Each will be assigned to the disabled list. Though Reyes seemed more comfortable and natural when he played in a Minor League game Wednesday, a person familiar with the situation said a DL assignment is definite for the shortstop.
Earlier on Wednesday, the club announced Murphy will miss two to six weeks because of a sprained right knee.
Again on Wednesday, there was no indication for the club that suggested Reyes might be on the Opening Day roster. Several people in the organization had doubted for days that Reyes would begin the season on the active roster. No one said they knew for sure. But they said they would be surprised if he were.
Reyes batted five times in a game against the Marlins' junior varsity and appeared natural and smooth, regardless of the results. He doubled in five at-bats, and against orders, ran like ... well, like only he can. He also flied out twice, fouled out and struck out. He faced left-handed pitcher Hunter Jones and right-handed reliever Chris LaRue.
And again, Reyes said he felt fine and reiterated that he hopes to play Monday: "My legs are ready, and I'm not that bad swinging the bat. No doubt, I'm more comfortable."
He may not have been comfortable when he learned that more time on the DL is in the offing. The Mets will assign him and backdate the assignment to last Friday, as they did late Wednesday with Kelvim Escobar and Carlos Beltran. In that way, Reyes becomes eligible to play in the season's fifth game, against the Nationals on April 10. However, late Wednesday night there was an indication from a person with the club that it is not a given that Reyes will be activated on that date.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.