After much speculation the New York Mets officially announced Saturday that they have signed shortstop Jose Reyes to a minor league contract mere hours after he had become a free agent by being released from the Colorado Rockies. The Mets also announced that they have demoted outfielder Michael Conforto to Triple-A Las Vegas due to his recent struggles, and have promoted 2011 first round pick Brandon Nimmo to take his place.

Reyes, who spent the first eight years of his career with the Mets, will report to short-season Brooklyn on Sunday, and is expected to remain there for at least week before joining the big league team. His arrival comes after the Rockies had requested release waivers after designating him for assignment last week, and after not being able to find any takers on the trade market. Reyes was arrested Oct. 31 after a physical altercation with his wife at the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea, Hawaii. He allegedly grabbed his wife, Katherine, by the throat and pushed her into a sliding-glass door in their hotel room. Reyes’ wife declined to cooperate with prosecutors, and a judge in Hawaii formally dropped a domestic abuse charge in April. He had been placed on administrative leave and then suspended without pay through May 31 for violating its domestic abuse policy. Reyes forfeited $6.25 million in salary as a result of the suspension. The Rockies are on the hook for the remaining $39 million on his contract, which runs through 2017, while the Mets will only be responsible for a prorated portion of the league minimum, which is roughly $250,000.

“As I have expressed in the past, I deeply regret the incident that occurred and remain remorseful and apologetic to my family,” Reyes said in a statement. “I have completed the counseling required by MLB, have been in ongoing therapy, and will continue with counseling going forward. I appreciate the Mets organization for believing in me and providing the opportunity to come back home to New York.”

“We made the decision to offer a contract to Jose after extensive consideration and discussion with Jose, his representatives, Major League Baseball and various departments at the Mets,” general manager Sandy Alderson said in a statement. “We are convinced that Jose has accepted responsibility for his actions and their consequences and have confirmed he is taking steps beyond those prescribed by MLB, including ongoing counseling. Accordingly, we believe he deserves a second chance to return to our organization.”

The Mets originally seemed uninterested in a reunion when Reyes was first designated early last week. But after a sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves last weekend and their offense in a stagnant state due to multiple injuries, rumors of an organizational about-face first surfaced early this week. While he is not expected to play shortstop with Asdrubal Cabrera entrenched there, he may wind up seeing time primarily at third, while backing up second, short, and possibly the outfield. Reyes likely would slot in as the team’s leadoff hitter, a role he filled for the Mets during his first term with the club. Reyes had only a .310 on-base percentage last season with the Toronto Blue Jays and Rockies, but he did steal 24 bases in 116 games. The Mets have struggled to manufacture runs and have a glaring lack of speed. David Wright, who is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, still leads the team with three steals.

In another attempt to jumpstart the offense, Conforto, the 2014 first round pick who burst onto the scene last season with nine home runs in 56 games with the Mets, was demoted after a prolonged slump that saw him bat .130 since May 1. Nimmo is expected to start Saturday night after hitting .328 with five home runs and 37 RBIs in 63 games at Las Vegas this season. He was the first player taken by Alderson’s regime in 2011, and has slowly progressed through the Mets system since being selected one pick before the Miami Marlins took Jose Fernandez, who has become one of the top young pitchers in baseball. Nimmo is the earliest draft pick ever out of the state of Wyoming, and only played organized baseball with the American Legion before being drafted, as there is no high school baseball in Wyoming. Montana and South Dakota are the only other states without the sport.

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