06/30/08 8:55 PM ET
Reyes looking to control emotions
Mets shortstop has not let outbursts affect his offense
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
"I was mad at myself, because I made a mistake," Reyes said, speaking before Monday's game against the Cardinals. "I made an error."
The generally affable Reyes then rejected further questioning and walked away.
Reyes' outburst came in the seventh inning Sunday, just after the Mets shortstop earned an error on a poor throw -- one first baseman Carlos Delgado perhaps should have caught. But when Jose Molina then popped a potential inning-ending fly ball into the outfield, a smoldering Reyes slammed his glove to the ground while the ball was still in the air.
Manager Jerry Manuel, who endured a Reyes tantrum earlier this month in Anaheim, didn't notice this latest discretion. But he wasn't surprised when he heard.
"Jose can be temperamental," Manuel said.
He can also be electric and invaluable, which makes his occasional lack of control all the more unfortunate.
"I will be constantly reminding Jose of behavior," Manuel said. "Keeping it short. You can't let it affect you. If it affects you, it affects the team."
Less-than-sterling conduct has been a problem for Reyes in recent years -- most notably last season, when then-manager Willie Randolph removed him from a game in Houston for not running out a ball to first. Then in Anaheim this season -- in the first inning of the first game of Manuel's managerial tenure -- Reyes argued with his new boss right on the field. Manuel wanted him to come out of the game after tweaking a hamstring. Reyes disagreed.
He ultimately conceded, and he later apologized.
That was encouraging but not conclusive, which is why Manuel has looked elsewhere for solutions. Jose Valentin used to be a positive clubhouse influence for Reyes, but his Mets career has likely ended. Manuel said he hopes that Luis Castillo can step into that role and feel comfortable enough to dish out some positive peer pressure.
In the interim, Reyes has managed to encourage Manuel by keeping such mental lapses from affecting his offense. With two hits Sunday, he raised his June average to .319.
"That's a sign of maturity, hopefully," Manuel said. "And hopefully he'll continue to grow."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.