ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jose Reyes woke up Wednesday and returned to doing the one thing he’s done best most of his life.
Seven months after an altercation with his wife in Hawaii led to his suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s new domestic violence policy, the 32-year-old Colorado Rockies shortstop spent the day preparing to play a baseball game again — penciled in as the starting shortstop, hitting No. 2 in the lineup for the Albuquerque Isotopes.
“Right now, I’m happy to be back on the field and doing what I love to do — play baseball,” Reyes told reporters Wednesday before taking batting practice at Isotopes Park, where he began a minor league rehab assignment.
Nevermind the fact that the New Mexico skies opened up and rained on his comeback parade, bringing a postponement to Wednesday’s Isotopes game with the visiting Fresno Grizzlies (a doubleheader will be played Thursday at 4:35 p.m.).
For Reyes, his 59-day, 51-game suspension ended Tuesday for a charge prosecutors dropped in April. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t willing to own up to it and address it one more time.
On the contrary, Reyes was contrite and apologetic in an eight-minute session with reporters Wednesday talking about trying to regain the trust again of fans, family and the Rockies organization that is now on the clock to make a decision on what to do with the high-priced former all-star. Reyes was set to earn $22 million this season, but lost close to $7 million while suspended.
“I say sorry to everyone about what happened,” Reyes said. “… As a human being, sometimes you’re going to make a mistake. I made a mistake. I have to deal with it as a grown man. But you have to learn from the mistake that you’ve made.”
And while he won’t go into details about what happened with his wife, Katherine Ramirez, in October — “I already did that part with the commissioner … and we were on the same page” — he admits he has nobody to blame but himself for finding himself in a minor league dugout in early June talking about his road back to the big leagues.
“What I did I know was wrong. (I need to make sure) that kind of stuff doesn’t happen again,” Reyes said. “That’s why I’m here in this situation. I just have to say sorry for the fans out there, for a lot of people who followed me throughout my career to the Rockies organization who I’ve put in this situation to answer a lot of questions about this matter. …
“Sorry. I’m a human being. I made a mistake. I’m going to learn from it.”
Baseball’s never been the problem for Reyes, a career .290 hitter who once led the National League in hits, triples four times and stolen bases three times (all with the Mets between 2003 and 2011). But now, he faces the reality that in his absence from the Rockies, a bright young star has taken over his starting spot.
Trevor Story, the 23-year-old rookie who spent time with the Isotopes in 2015, is hitting .261 this season with 14 home runs, 36 RBIs and has played in 49 of the Rockies’ 51 games this season. He’s also sitting pretty at No. 2 in the National League voting for the All Star game.
“I know Trevor, he’s been doing an unbelievable job. That’s good to see when you see a baseball player as a young guy come to the big league and perform the way that he’s doing so far, that’s good to see,” Reyes said.
Per his suspension agreement with MLB, Reyes can be on his rehab assignment no longer than 14 days at which point the Rockies must either add him to their 40-man roster, trade him or cut ties with him.
“Through this process, there’s a lot of stuff going through my head,” said Reyes about his future with the organization. “But right now, I’m just going to take this day by day and try to get ready as soon as possible and get my body in baseball shape and go from there.”