NEW YORK -- Despite a valiant effort, entertainer Nick Cannon came up 52 embraces shy of breaking the world record for hugs in one hour Friday evening at Citi Field. Cannon doled out 1,698 hugs to fans entering the stadium in an attempt to set a world record and promote his radio show on 92.3 NOW FM.
Each person who hugged Cannon was given a free commemorative T-shirt, and the toy company WowWee donated a Paper Jamz toy to the Mets Care Room at the New York Hospital of Queens for every Cannon hug.
"52 off!" an exasperated Cannon said after a brief cool-down period. "We've got to do it again. I felt like if we had started a little later and closer to the door, we would have got it."
Cannon said he was inspired to attempt the feat because he has always wanted to set a world record and because he is known as a prolific and outstanding hugger.
While a man named Nick Vujicic remains the holder of the one-hour hugging record, several other Guinness World Records were set Friday at Citi Field. While waiting in line before Cannon arrived at the park, Carmela Risquez and Jackie Stinson -- college students from New Jersey -- set a world record by exchanging 108 high-fives in 30 seconds.
The two young ladies were already attending the game and decided to stop by for hugs when they heard about the event on the radio.
"It was awesome!" Risquez said of setting a world record. "My hands still hurt. We bruised a little bit."
The evening will also be a memorable one for 6-year-old Ryan Carty of Huntington, N.Y. Carty was at Citi Field for his first live baseball game with his father, Jimmy, after watching the Mets on television. Though Ryan came to the game mostly to see his favorite player, Jose Reyes, both he and his father are fans of Cannon from listening to his radio show together.
"We listen to it all the time," Jimmy Carty said. "He's funny, he's very good with people. It's one of the best morning shows I listen to."
"He plays good music," Ryan Carty added.
Indeed, even though Cannon was unable to set the world record, plenty of people, including Cannon, came away with smiles on their faces.
"1,698 kids still get toys," Cannon said. "It was a thing where I always wanted to break a world record, I've been known for giving good hugs and I thought I could pull it off, but I didn't know it was so difficult."
Reyes feeling better, but not yet 100 percent
NEW YORK -- Jose Reyes ran for 1 1/2 hours Friday at a training facility in Long Island, but said he does not yet know if his strained left hamstring will be ready for game action by the time he's eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday.
"I need to run the bases first before I decide about when I can play," Reyes said. "I've been running the past couple of days, so I'm feeling good. I'm not 100 percent, but it's getting there."
Reyes said he has also been taking batting practice, fielding ground balls and throwing to first base -- activities he says have not been a problem thus far.
The shortstop also said his rehabilitation is going along at about the same pace as it did when he injured the same hamstring earlier in the season. That injury cost Reyes 12 games from July 3-18. Despite his recent injury problems, Reyes was hesitant to commit to taking days off in the future, a strategy manager Terry Collins had proposed to keep Reyes' oft-injured legs healthy.
"It depends how I'm feeling," Reyes said. "When I'm on the field, I like to play every day. We'll see how I feel when I play day games, when I play night games. We'll talk about it."
Reyes also reiterated that he is just trying to get back onto the field and is not worried about his impending free agency nor his pursuit of what would be the Mets' first batting title in franchise history. Reyes leads the National League with a .336 average -- seven points ahead of second-place Ryan Braun -- and needs 40 more plate appearances to qualify for the title.
"I can't look into a crystal ball and think it's going to be Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday," Collins said. "I just can't do that. It's a progression; it's a process that he's going through. He told me he's feeling better. We talked about the next couple of days and what the process is going to be. We'll see how he comes out each and every day."
Turner, Bay get the day off against Brewers
NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins decided to give both Justin Turner and Jason Bay a day off Friday, opting instead for lefty hitters Willie Harris and Jason Pridie to get their places in the lineup against Milwaukee righty Shaun Marcum.
Marcum has allowed a .275 batting average to lefties compared to .182 against righties.
"Lefties hit Marcum pretty good," Collins said. "They didn't have any left-handed relievers. I thought it would be a good day to put the lefties in there."
Harris and Pridie was joined in the lineup by fellow left-handed hitters Josh Thole and Lucas Duda.
Turner was given two days off during the Mets' recent six-game road trip in order for him to recover from being hit in the toe with a pitch last Thursday night and nagging right hip flexor soreness. Collins said he was still "banged up."
Though Bay has struggled over his past five games to the tune of 0-for-20 with a walk and six strikeouts, Collins said his decision to give Bay a day off Friday was unrelated to his recent performance.
"I had talked to Jason last week about taking a day this week," Collins said. "I had talked about it the other day about taking the last game in San Diego. He said, 'How about the first day at home?' I said that would be fine. But I wanted it to coincide with yesterday."
Mets manager Terry Collins said he would start Lucas Duda in right field Saturday against the Brewers. Duda has played primarily at first base lately, but Collins wants to evaluate his play in right field to see if Duda could take over the role full-time in 2012 after injured first baseman Ike Davis returns.
Collins said he is happy with the progress infielder Ruben Tejada has made in his two-strike approach since being called up to the big leagues again on Aug. 8.
"One of the things we certainly talked about was his two-strike approach," Collins said. "When we sent him down, [we told him] that he's got to have a little bit better plan with two strikes, not to expand the zone too much. I've seen it. I think he's done a great job since he's been back. I really like the fact that when he's got two strikes on him, he works the middle of the field. When you're swinging good, sometimes you can get happy, pull happy, and he doesn't do that. He hasn't done that since he's been back."
Friday will be relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez's first game against the Mets since being traded to the Brewers on July 12. Rodriguez made 165 appearances and recorded 83 saves for the Mets between 2009 and 2011.
Aaron Taube is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.