Out since mid-April with a sprained left ankle, the veteran shortstop will be activated from the disabled Wednesday when the visiting Blue Jays try to salvage the finale against a Rays team looking for its fourth consecutive win.
Toronto (38-38) entered this series averaging 6.4 runs and 8.7 hits during a franchise-tying 11-game winning streak, but it’s totaled two and 10 hits in the first two. Losers in four straight at Tropicana Field, the Blue Jays have not won any of its last 19 road series against the Rays (41-37).
Reyes, however, could provide a spark to help the club get back on track.
“I’m very excited about it,” he said. “I missed two months of doing what I love to do and now I know I’m going to be on the field one more time around my team.”
Reyes hit .395 with a homer and five RBIs in 10 games when he was injured April 12 at Kansas City.
“He’s one of those centerpieces of our team,” manager John Gibbons said. “Before he got hurt he was great. He was playing really well. He’s been gone a while and now maybe he can put us over the top. We’ll see.”
Scheduled starter R.A. Dickey (6-8, 5.15 ERA) was another of Toronto’s high-profile offseason acquisitions but has been inconsistent in 2013.
The knuckleballer is 2-1 in four June starts despite a 5.01 ERA over those outings. He gave up a run in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-1 win at Texas on June 15, then allowed six and three home runs in six innings while not factoring in the decision of a 7-6 win over Baltimore on Friday.
“I had a pretty good knuckleball going into the game, threw a couple of hangers up there and they got punished in bad situations,” he said.
The right-hander has allowed 10 hits and no homers while going 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his last three starts versus Tampa Bay. He’s yielded six runs - four earned - and worked around nine walks in 14 innings to go 1-0 against the Rays in 2013.
Slugger Jose Bautista went 0 for 3 in Tuesday’s 5-1 defeat, and is 1 for 15 in the last four at Tropicana Field.
Wil Myers drove in his eighth run in nine career games for Rays, who have won five of seven. He’s 3 for 8 and also has a homer in the series.
Tampa Bay’s Roberto Hernandez (4-8, 5.14) looks to avoid losing three straight starts for the second time in 2013. The right-hander allowed five runs and nine hits in seven innings of a 6-2 loss at Yankee Stadium on Friday.
Hernandez is 3-1 with a 4.12 ERA in seven starts versus Toronto. He gave up a solo homer to Adam Lind four other hits and struck out seven in six innings before leaving without a decision in a 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays on May 7.
He’s yielded two earned runs and eight hits over 14 2-3 innings to win both of his interleague starts in 2013.