NEW YORK -- If Terry Collins had his way, Jose Reyes would not always run full speed to first base.
Do not adjust your monitors. The Mets' manager does not want Reyes to curb his aggression on the basepaths -- if anything, the opposite is true. Collins simply wants his shortstop to pick and choose his spots, so that he can more freely steal bases in critical spots without worrying about the consequences on his legs.
"That's when he's gotten hurt, is when he takes that aggressive attitude -- when he runs the bases, gets on a lot," Collins said. "The next day, there really isn't enough time to let his legs recuperate from the night before. And that becomes the issue."
In Collins' opinion, both of Reyes' hamstring strains this season are attributable to the fact that, unlike most veterans, Reyes refuses to accept routine days off to help his body recover. Exacerbating the strain on his legs is the fact that, with few exceptions, Reyes runs and plays at high-octane levels almost every inning of every game.
"What we have to do is somehow educate him that, look, it doesn't always have to be 100 percent," Collins said. "It sounds like you're asking him not to hustle. That's not it. But ultimately, a guy who's this important to this team -- and his legs are his game -- he's got to somehow understand what it takes to take care of his legs."
If Reyes re-signs with the Mets this offseason, Collins has already developed a plan to give Reyes multiple scheduled days off each month. The cost of multiple assignments to the disabled list, Collins knows, is far greater than that of a half-dozen maintenance days each season.
But Collins also wants Reyes to do his own part in easing the daily strain on his legs.
"We're not asking him to jog to first base," Collins said. "We're just asking him to know when he's got to bust it and when he doesn't."
Johan progresses in latest rehab start
NEW YORK -- Johan Santana took another step toward his return from left shoulder surgery on Friday, pitching three innings in Class A Savannah's South Atlantic League playoff game.
Beginning his second Minor League rehab assignment in the past two months, Santana held Class A Augusta to one unearned run in three innings, striking out one and allowing two hits and a walk. The left-hander threw 27 of his 39 pitches for strikes.
Savannah and Augusta were playing Game 2 of their best-of-three first-round playoff series.
Depending on how Santana emerges from Friday's outing, the Mets may soon call him up to the Majors for his first start since surgery last September to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. Other options include instructional league in Port St. Lucie, Fla. or winter ball in Santana's native Venezuela. Because the Minor League postseason ends next week, a lengthy rehab stint is no longer possible for Santana, who cut short his previous assignment due to renewed discomfort in his shoulder.
Much of the plan depends on how Santana's shoulder responds Saturday morning.
"We're looking for what happens tomorrow," Mets manager Terry Collins said prior to Santana's Friday start. "I'm not looking for results. I'm not looking for velocity. I'm looking to see how he comes out of this tomorrow, because what we ultimately want to do here is bring him back on four days' rest and have him pitch again."
Mets offer free Sunday tix to first responders
NEW YORK -- The Mets are offering complimentary tickets for Sunday's game against the Cubs to New York City first responders and their families, as well as discounted tickets for all fans to benefit the Tuesday's Children charity.
Past and present members of the New York City Police Department, New York City Fire Department, Port Authority Police Department, Emergency Medical Service, Office of Emergency Management, New York City Sanitation Department, New York City Department of Corrections and New York State Court Officers with proper photo identification can pick up their complimentary tickets beginning Friday at the Citi Field advance ticket window. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, subject to availability.
In addition, all fans are eligible to purchase Promenade tickets for $10, half of which will go to Tuesday's Children -- a non-profit organization designed to provide support for every individual impacted by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and more recently to those impacted by terrorist incidents worldwide. Tickets are available free of additional fees at Mets.com/911.
Those holding tickets for Sunday's game at Citi Field are encouraged to take their seats by 7:30 p.m. ET for the Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony. Former Mets closer John Franco will throw out the ceremonial first pitch to one of his 2001 Mets teammates, catcher Mike Piazza. In addition, New York City uniformed service men and women, first responders and families from Tuesday's Children will all participate in the unfurling of a 300-foot-by-100 foot American flag. Grammy Award-winning singer Marc Anthony -- who sang the national anthem on Sept. 21, 2001, in the first Major League game in New York City following the attacks -- will repeat his performance, and American Idol finalist and Queens native Pia Toscano will sing "God Bless America."
With Jason Isringhausen unavailable due to a herniated disk in his lower back, the Mets on Friday recalled right-handed pitcher Dale Thayer to fill out their bullpen. Thayer, 30, joins the Mets for the second time this season, after saving 21 games with a 2.66 ERA in 54 games for Triple-A Buffalo.
Thanks in part to the support of pitcher and devoted "Star Wars" fan R.A. Dickey, the Mets are teaming up with Lucasfilm Ltd. to host "Star Wars" night next Tuesday, Sept. 13 at Citi Field. Tickets, which are available at Mets.com/starwars, include admission to the game against the Nationals, a commemorative T-shirt and a $5 donation to Stand Up To Cancer, a noted cancer research movement. Fans are encouraged to attend Citi Field dressed as their favorite "Star Wars" character.