NEW YORK (AP) — Jay Bruce is back in the lineup for the New York Mets and ready to try something different.The veteran outfielder was reinstated from the disabled list Friday after missing more than two months with an aching right hip http://www.tigersfanproshop.com/auth...-norris-jersey , and the Mets plan to audition him at first base down the stretch.A three-time All-Star, the 31-year-old Bruce returned to the Mets as a free agent last winter and signed a $39 million, three-year contract. Also bothered by plantar fasciitis in his feet, however, he batted only .212 with three homers and 17 RBIs in 62 games before going on the DL. His paltry .613 OPS was well below his career mark of .783 in 11 major league seasons.“Obviously, I’ve been injured and I’ve underperformed,” said Bruce, who homered in his return to help the Mets beat the Washington Nationals 3-0. “Neither of those things were on my list of things to do coming back to New York. So it’s not something I’m happy about or proud of, but I can only move forward.“I have a little over a month this year and I have two more seasons to right the ship and be the player I’ve been pretty much my whole career. I think people know that and I think people are going to see that.”Bruce started in right field, his regular position, during his first big league game since June 17 — just in time for his bobblehead giveaway Saturday at Citi Field. Batting fifth, he finished 1 for 4 with a two-run shot in the eighth inning.“One thing that I’ve never kind of lacked in my career, regardless of how well or how poorly I was playing http://www.tigersfanproshop.com/auth...-gibson-jersey , is power. And this year, it just wasn’t there. So it’s obviously raised red flags for me and hopefully I’m out of the woods with that,” he said.The fourth-place Mets intend to play Bruce at first base fairly often as they attempt to determine the best fit for next year. He has made 16 career starts at first base, including 10 last season and three this year.“I’ve got both gloves in my locker and whatever they tell me I’m doing, I’ll do. That’s all there is to it,” Bruce said. “I’m ready for whatever. … I feel confident about it.”Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo, both 25, have been productive in the corner outfield spots. Each has played center field in the past, but manager Mickey Callaway said the Mets would prefer to keep them in the corners — especially with left fielder Yoenis Cespedes’ status uncertain early next season following surgery on both heels.That could leave first base as a landing spot for Bruce, if he looks comfortable there.“I definitely think that’s a possibility,” Callaway said. “I think that’s one of the things we need to find out in this last part of the season.”It’s not that simple, though.Power-hitting prospect Peter Alonso, who was leading all minor leaguers with 32 homers and 109 RBIs this season Willie Horton Jersey , is the first baseman at Triple-A Las Vegas. First base is also Dominic Smith’s natural position, though the touted 23-year-old has mostly been a disappointment during his major league stints the past two years.Wilmer Flores, with experience all over the infield, has received the majority of playing time at first this season. He is batting .278 with 11 homers and 48 RBIs, and is under contractual control next year.So if Bruce shifts to first base as well, it could create a bit of a logjam.Bruce did say that if the Mets decide to move him primarily to first next year, he would like a heads up ahead of time.“I would appreciate them letting me know so that I have an offseason to prepare,” he explained. “And I think they would have every intention to do that. I definitely don’t doubt that. They’ve been pretty transparent with the whole idea so far.”Bruce wouldn’t call himself 100 percent healthy necessarily, but said his hip and feet feel good. He said the injuries affected him “a lot” earlier this year and he wasn’t really able to drive the ball.“I feel like I’m moving around better, first and foremost, with my feet. That was kind of secondary when I went on the DL. But, got an opportunity to rest that and it feels really good now,” Bruce said. “Got out of the orthotics http://www.tigersfanproshop.com/auth...artinez-jersey , which was a big goal for me. And just taking some swings in the cage a minute ago, there were swings and passes with my bat, my barrel, that just wasn’t there prior. So, I was out there playing. I wasn’t performing. Obviously, I’m not a guy to make excuses, as you guys I think know, probably. But I look forward to having kind of a full quiver, if you will.”Bruce went 9 for 25 (.360) with a home run and a double in seven rehab games at Class A St. Lucie, playing both first base and right field. To open a spot for him on the active roster, the Mets optioned utilityman Jack Reinheimer to Las Vegas.With catcher Devin Mesoraco sidelined by a stiff neck, New York also recalled catcher Tomás Nido from Double-A Binghamton and optioned Smith to Las Vegas.Callaway said Mesoraco had an MRI that revealed only muscular issues, so he won’t need to go on the DL and he could catch in a pinch. Kevin Plawecki was behind the plate against the Nationals Nick Castellanos Jersey , but his pregnant wife is due at any moment so the team promoted Nido as insurance. CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs will return home after a one-day road trip that may leave them weary after a long but satisfying win.The Cubs, who were forced to travel to Washington to face the Nationals after a weekend washout, will enter Friday’s series opener against the Cincinnati Reds on a winning note after a 10-inning, 4-3 victory.After seeing their lead shrink to one game by losing two of three to the second-place Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs will face the Reds with a 1 1/2-game lead in the National League Central. And as much as the Cubs dreaded losing an off-day Thursday for the sake of a make-up game, manager Joe Maddon won’t use the current stretch of 30 consecutive days without an off-day as an excuse.Article continues below ...“It’s just a tough stretch, man,” Maddon said this weekend, according to NBC Sports Chicago. “Fatigue is nasty. When you get a tired mind, it’s not easy to play at your top level. It’s just not. We all know what it’s like when you feel like your brain is swimming a little bit.”The Cubs’ victory Thursday provided a bit of breathing room after they entered Thursday’s game having lost four of their previous five games. Despite needing extra innings to get back on a winning track, the Cubs realize even facing the last-place Reds won’t be easy as they try to hold on to their lead in the National League Central.Because of Thursday’s trip to Washington, the start time of Friday’s game was pushed back from 1:20 p.m. CT to 7:05 p.m.Cole Hamels will take the mound for the Cubs, looking to extend what’s been an impressive start to his stint with the Cubs. Hamels (9-9 http://www.tigersfanproshop.com/auth...-mccann-jersey , 3.71 ERA) has not lost since joining the Cubs and is coming off back-to-back no-decisions after racking up a 4-0 record in August. Hamels has dominated the Reds throughout his career with an 11-1 record and a 1.86 ERA in 16 career starts against Cincinnati.In his one start against the Reds this season, Hamels got a complete-game victory, allowing eight hits and two walks but one run in Chicago’s 7-1 victory Aug. 23.The Reds will enter the series having won four of their past six games. Cincinnati took two of three against the Los Angeles Dodgers this week but failed to finish off the sweep, taking an 8-1 loss Wednesday before having Thursday off.Matt Harvey will start the series for the Reds after sticking with Cincinnati despite clearing waivers. Harvey (7-8, 4.87) has only one win in his last four starts, but that win came in his last outing — a victory against the San Diego Padres in which he surrendered two runs and four hits over six innings. In that game, Harvey struck out 10, which was his first double-digit strikeout effort in more than two years. Now, he will look to continue to roll against the Cubs on Friday.“It was just one of those days when everything was coming out pretty good,” Harvey said after the outing, according to Cincinnati.com. “I pretty much let the pitches work.”Harvey is 2-1 with a 3.72 ERA in seven career starts against Chicago. He has started three games against the Cubs this year and is 1-0 with a 2.65 ERA.