02/23/12 12:30 PM EST
Ready for new era, Reyes arrives at camp
Miami's shortstop expects harmonious relationship with Hanley
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
What the Marlins can expect is the same enthusiastic player who was a four-time All-Star with the Mets.
Excitement. Passion. Energy.
The qualities that underlined Reyes' career in New York are carrying over to Miami.
The Marlins' top offseason acquisition, Reyes arrived at Spring Training on Thursday, three days before full-squad workouts technically begin.
The 29-year-old is eager for a new beginning, after spending his entire career with the Mets.
"The same energy I had in New York, that's the same energy I'm going to bring here," Reyes said. "I'm the kind of guy who has a lot of energy and a lot of passion for the game. I enjoy the game as much as I can. That's something I'm going to bring here."
Decked out in a black Marlins' workout shirt, shorts and cap, Reyes took batting practice in a group with Emilio Bonifacio and Omar Infante on a back field at the Roger Dean Stadium complex.
A gathering of fans lined the fencing.
At one point, someone yelled to Reyes, "You looked better in blue and orange."
In response, Reyes countered, "I don't think so."
Being with the Marlins is a fresh chapter.
"I'm kind of excited right now," Reyes said. "This is my new team, my new family. I just want to be on the field and start to enjoy the game.
"I have to focus on this team now. I'm not part of the New York Mets any more. I can't worry about what happened there. I need to focus on this team. Whatever happened with the Mets, that's in the past."
At the Winter Meetings in December, the Marlins signed Reyes to a six-year, $106 million contract, the richest deal in franchise history.
After a tremendous career in New York, Reyes is adapting to his new surroundings.
"I don't want to get too excited," he said. "I'm trying to stay focused, and play my game. Bring everything I was bringing for the New York Mets, I'm going to bring here. Hopefully, I can stay healthy for the full season. I know if I'm able to do that, this team is going to win a lot of ballgames."
Hamstring issues were a concern in New York.
In 2011, Reyes was the National League batting champion, hitting .337. But injuries limited him to 126 games, and he appeared in 133 games in 2010.
"It's a relief for me to be here," the fun-loving shortstop said. "I was kind of excited when I was in my house. I couldn't wait to get to Spring Training. I was kind of antsy and excited to be around these new people. I spent my whole career with another organization. I'm here now.
"We expect to win. The caliber of club we have, we are going to compete. There is no doubt, the one thing we need is to stay healthy. If we do, I think we're going to compete. There is no doubt in our mind."
With the Marlins, Reyes takes over at shortstop, allowing Hanley Ramirez to slide over to third base.
Ramirez and Reyes have spoken on several occasions in recent months, but not specifically on how they will get along on the left side of the Miami infield.
"When me and Hanley talk, we don't talk about that situation," Reyes said of Ramirez playing third. "We talk about other stuff, we don't talk that. I know he's happy. I saw him in the Dominican. I saw him last week. We've been talking most of the time. We're good. We don't have any problems.
"This is the first time I'm going to play with different guys. Hanley is moving to third base. Anything I can do for him, I'll do."
Ramirez is one of Reyes' biggest fans.
"He brings a lot of energy," Ramirez said. "That's how he is. That's the way he's going to be. He's got everything, he brings a lot of energy from the clubhouse to the field."
The Marlins envision having one of the fastest top of the orders in the big leagues, with Reyes leading off, followed by Bonifacio and Ramirez.
The addition of Reyes projects to give Ramirez plenty of RBI chances.
"We'll said," Ramirez said.
Reyes also expects to get along just fine with new manager Ozzie Guillen.
"It's exciting for me to play for Ozzie," the shortstop said. "He has a guy who has a lot of passion for the game. He enjoys the game, too. He's a [former] baseball player, that's good, too. He's not afraid to talk. That's good. When somebody does something wrong, he will let you know. That's good. I don't have any problems with that. We're going to get along very well."
"This kid, every time he shows up in the clubhouse, everything is fun," Guillen said. "Smiling. He's happy to be in baseball. When you play the game the way he plays, that is contagious. That guy brings a lot of nice things to the ballclub."
It didn't take long on Thursday for Reyes to be on the receiving end of one of Guillen's good-natured jabs.
Reyes stepped up to bat, facing a pitching machine. The first pitch he saw as a Marlin, he swung and missed, prompting laughter from his teammates. Guillen, who was watching on a golf cart, quipped: "Don't be wasting our money."
After the light exchange, Reyes completed a solid round, connecting on a couple of balls that traveled to the fence in right-center.
Since his signing, Marlins No. 7 Reyes' jerseys have been big sellers in South Florida.
"They haven't seen me play here yet," Reyes said. "When they see me play, they're going to love me, because I'm the guy who gives you 100 percent every day and tries to put my team in position to win every single night, every single day."