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Reyes makes impact on defence in return to lineup

Reyes makes impact on defence in return to lineup

Reyes makes impact on defence in return to lineup

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jose Reyes didn't make his presence felt at the plate, but he did in the field during his first game with the Blue Jays in more than two months.

Reyes made a pair of difficult plays at shortstop and his range appeared back to normal. That's an encouraging sign for a player who missed 66 games with a severely sprained left ankle and relies heavily on his speed to be successful.

There's obviously a lot more intensity in the Major Leagues than the rehab games Reyes became accustomed to over the past couple of weeks, but overall he was pleased with how his body responded.

"I have my confidence back," Reyes said. "I was taking a lot of ground balls in the Minors, side to side, testing my ankle, and everything was good and I showed it today.

"It is different, because every game here means a lot. The atmosphere and energy is on another level. This is the big leagues and like I said, I feel even better when I step on the field."

Reyes went 0-for-4 with three groundouts and a flyout in the 3-0 victory over the Rays, but moved well going up the line when attempting to beat out throws. It will take a little while for Reyes to get his timing down at the plate, but he doesn't envision it becoming a long-term issue.

The 30-year-old hit .414 (12-for-29) with an extra-base hit and six runs scored during his seven games for Class A Dunedin and Triple-A Buffalo, but the calibre of pitching in the big leagues is on an entirely different level.

That will present some challenges, but Reyes said he is going to put in some early work each day in order to speed up the process as much as possible.

"It felt OK, I was seeing the ball good, but that's going to come," Reyes said. "That's something I don't worry about. I'm going to come here early and work on my swing. At least I didn't strike out, I put the ball in play and when you put the ball in play, something good is going to happen."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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