MIAMI -- As a kid growing up in the Dominican Republic, Erick Aybar watched everything Rafael Furcal did and wanted to play shortstop just the way Furcal did. Aybar still holds Furcal in high regard, but he has acquired a new gold standard: Jose Reyes of the Mets.
Aybar and Reyes spent the weekend at Citi Field taking turns making superlative plays and delivering key hits in a series taken by the Angels. As the Angels prepared to board a flight for South Florida after Sunday's game, Aybar had Reyes' No. 7 game jersey -- courtesy of the man himself -- hanging in his locker.
"That's my favorite," Aybar said, nodding toward the Reyes shirt. "That's why I got the jersey. He's a great player and a good guy. He'll talk to anybody. He's always in a good mood. He's the way a professional is supposed to be. That's how I want to be."
No shortstop in the game is on Reyes' level right now, but Aybar is having a solid season. He's batting .277 with 28 RBIs and 26 runs scored in 58 games and is 14-for-16 in steal attempts. Defensively, Reyes is one of the few on Aybar's level.