The Blue Jays shortstop's latest run-in with the injury bug occurred in Thursday night's series finale against Tampa Bay when Reyes left the game after his first at-bat, grabbing his left side after grounding out to second base.
On Friday morning, manager John Gibbons told a Toronto sports radio station that Reyes has a small rib fracture and might need to be put on the disabled list. At the very least, the 31-year-old four-time all-star will miss this weekend's three-game series against Atlanta.
"It's a rib problem. It's just a small, little, tiny crack in the rib, fracture," Gibbons told Sportsnet 590 The Fan. "What we do have to be conscious of, too, is you don't want this thing to turn into a long-term problem. If it's best to nip it in the bud right now, maybe that's the smart route to take."
Reyes, 31, told reporters he's been playing through pain since April 10 when he immediately clutched his left side after a swing during the Orioles' home opener in Baltimore. The switch-hitter had experienced discomfort since then whenever he swung from the left side, but it worsened Thursday.
A year ago, Reyes strained his left hamstring during his first regular-season at-bat and was sidelined nearly three weeks. In April 2013, Reyes slid awkwardly into second base in Kansas City and suffered a severely sprained left ankle that kept him out of the lineup until June 25, or 66 games.
Reyes told reporters on Thursday he suffered a right oblique (rib cage) injury while playing for the New York Mets in 2010 that forced him to the DL. That injury, he added, was more painful and didn't allow him to throw or field a ball.
"This one I can do pretty much everything on the field — throwing, taking ground balls, with no problems," said Reyes, who is hitting .324 this season with a .350 on-base percentage.
'He felt good enough to play'
Gibbons said there were never really any serious discussions about shutting down Reyes earlier.
"All indications, he felt good enough to play," the manager said. "The doctor said, don't give it a whole lot of thought and if it gets worse then he might have to deal with it.
"These guys get paid a lot of money to play, if they feel they can play. If the doctor had said well you're risking something really bad happening of course he wouldn't have played."
Reyes hasn't played in more than 143 games in five of the last six seasons, appearing in just 93 contests with Toronto in 2013 and 36 with the Mets in 2009.
Veteran infielder Steve Tolleson is expected to start at shortstop in Friday's series opener against the visiting Braves, while rookie second baseman Devon Travis is a candidate to hit leadoff against right-hander Julio Teheran.
Acquired in the off-season from Detroit for centre-fielder Anthony Gose, the former Tigers prospect entered Friday's game with a .371 average and .421 OBP in his first 10 starts as a Blue Jay.
Centre-fielder Dalton Pompey of Mississauga, Ont., has the speed to bat in the leadoff position, but is hitting only .158 with a .220 OBP.