LOS ANGELES -- Out of action for five straight games, Jose Reyes was no longer willing to wait. Instead, the feeling-good-but-not-great Reyes allowed Mets manager Jerry Manuel to scrawl his name on the lineup card for Tuesday night's game against the Dodgers, adding an important piece back to the team.

"I'm looking forward to watching him play," Manuel said. "For him to take a little breather like that was good. Anytime a guy gets a chance to exhale, it's good -- especially a guy like Jose because he goes so hard all the time. He should be fresh enough to get us back on track."

But don't expect Reyes to immediately begin playing the frenetic style of baseball for which he is known. Sitting due to tendinitis in his right calf over the past five games, Reyes is hardly 100 percent. He isn't likely to steal many bases or even run at full speed if he does not have to.

"Until he gets out there, he won't feel right," Manuel said. "The test now is on the field. We'll see how he handles that."

The problem will be attempting to slow down a body that is accustomed to being in constant motion. Reyes, batting .284 before the injury, had also stolen a team-high 11 bases.

"It is hard," Reyes said. "Let's see what happens during the game. It's going to be hard for me to just take it easy, because that's not the way I play. I just have to be smart about it."

The Mets can hardly afford further injury. Reyes' primary backup at shortstop, Alex Cora, landed on the disabled list Monday with a torn ligament in his right thumb. That injury forced the Mets to fly Ramon Martinez across the country and start him at shortstop Monday.

Martinez was again in the lineup Tuesday, giving second baseman Luis Castillo his first game off in a week.