Jose Reyes has bigger problems than being accused of being a user of human growth hormone. Another round of tests on his thyroid condition have come back and the news isn't what anyone was hoping to hear.
Reyes's agent and Mets G.M. Omar Minaya announced that Reyes cannot have any physical exertion for the next two to eight weeks after doctors found his thyroid levels spiked upwards after doing controlled physical activity this week. He's expected to begin the season on the disabled list, will alter his diet and undergo regular tests to monitor the levels in hopes of solving the problem. As for when he'll actually be back in the lineup, it seems like anybody's guess.
Lost in all of this is the fact that Reyes was coming off a long bout of inactivity thanks to a torn hamstring and offseason surgery on the muscle. Whenever he is actually cleared to begin working out, and given recent history we'll take the over, it will take some time before he's ready to play in a major league game.
So it turns out the Mets were right in their initial assessment of the Reyes situation this week, but they'd surely trade looking like fools a little bit longer if it meant Reyes was able to play baseball. That is, after all, still what the Mets are in the business of doing. You'd be forgiven for forgetting that, of course, since most of the last year has been taken over by seminars in organizational philosophy, assorted medical specialties and various other topics that have nothing to do with scoring more runs than the opposition.
The likeliest replacement for Reyes is the veteran Alex Cora, who they re-signed for a cool two million during the offseason. Minaya didn't rule out 20-year-old Ruben Tejada as a starting candidate, however. Tejada played for AA-Binghamton last season and earns high praise for his baseball instincts and contact hitting. He's got no power, though, and doesn't dazzle anyone with his eye at the plate. Since they're already talking about taking Jenrry Mejia with them to Queens as a reliever, the thought of a second 20-year-old on the roster isn't particularly far-fetched.
Whoever takes Reyes's place, it will mean the team is down two of their best players as the season gets underway without a solid idea of when either one of them will be back. That's all too familiar a feeling and a devastating state of affairs for a team that was really trying to turn the page on everything that went wrong last year.