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02/01/10 5:30 PM EST

Reyes 'can't wait' for Spring Training

Shortstop runs 90-foot sprints, declares himself ready

NEW YORK -- Following a Monday workout on Long Island in which he sprinted on his surgically repaired right leg, Mets shortstop Jose Reyes vowed to show his fans "the new Jose Reyes" this season.

"I'm ready," Reyes told the team's SNY television network. "I can't wait to get to Spring Training to try to play baseball again, because I haven't played in such a long time. I love the game. I love to be on the field."

Reyes took a significant step in that direction Monday, running five 90-foot sprints and subsequently declaring himself ready for Spring Training.

"That's how I do it," Reyes told SNY. "I'm ready to play baseball."

For the Mets, such words have been a long time coming. For weeks last season, the Mets classified Reyes as day-to-day with a seemingly benign calf injury, which forced him out of a game against the Braves in mid-May. Though Reyes made three brief appearances on the field the following week, he did not play after that.

Later in the summer, the Mets changed their diagnosis from tendinitis in his right calf to a torn right hamstring tendon. In trying to work the tendon back in shape, Reyes also pulled his right hamstring muscle in August.

After the season, he underwent an operation to remove scar tissue from around the hamstring tendon, before working the hamstring muscle back into shape without surgery.

The Mets expect Reyes to be ready for Spring Training, and he appeared to take a step in that direction Monday.

"I'm real happy right now where I'm at," he told SNY. "I'm ready right now, so I can't wait to get to Spring Training to hang out with my teammates again, because I missed that last year."

Instead, Reyes sat at home and watched most of the team's games on television.

"It was tough, man," he said. "Even when I was in my house watching the games, it made me cry a lot of times because when I'm talking about my leg, it always was in pain last year. The pain really never goes away. It was kind of tough for me and my family."

Reyes has been sprinting at full speed without any pain for several weeks now, without any limitations on baseball activities. Running had been his only concern, and his sprint workouts on Long Island have quelled any remaining worries.

"It's better than I expected," Reyes said in his interview with the television station. "My explosiveness is there."

That's good news for the Mets, who watched Reyes steal an average of 65 bases and hit an average of 16 triples per season from 2005-08. Moving into their new ballpark, Citi Field, last season, the Mets were eager to see how Reyes' frenetic style of baseball might work in a stadium that values speed and athleticism.

Now, after a one-year delay, they should finally have their answer.

"The last three or four weeks, I've been running with no problem," Reyes told SNY. "Everything was in my mind, but now it's gone away. I'm just running like crazy."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.