Terry Collins made no secret of the fact he wanted Ruben Tejada in spring training early -- or, more precisely, for Tejada to spend most of the winter building up strength and improving his skills at the Mets’ Port St. Lucie, Fla., complex.
Still, the manager said he was not prepared to link Tejada wearing down this month with the shortstop reporting on time to spring training ather than when Collins desired.
New York Mets
Tejada struck out four times and committed an error Wednesday in St. Louis. And he is hitting .207 (19-for-92) in his past 24 games. So in addition to Thursday’s team day off, Collins also gave Tejada off for Friday’s series opener against the Atlanta Braves. Collins originally leaned toward sitting Tejada on Saturday afternoon too, but changed his mind.
“I wasn’t worried about the longevity of the season,” Collins said. “The reason I wanted him in there [at camp early], there were specific things I wanted him to work on.
“He played all summer long. He’s in shape. Anybody who plays 100 games in a major league season and does all the running and everything else that they do, you’re in shape by now. There are some other things I wanted to have done that I knew that had he got in early, I could make sure were taken care of before the season started, which I think might have helped him. I don’t know if it would have kept him away from the [May 6] leg injury or not.
“But, right now, as I sat there last night, I said, ‘You know, we’ve got Dan Murphy, in the last two years he hasn’t played in the month of September. He’s playing. He’s grinding it out, and I know he’s tired. David [Wright] has done it several times. You know what? If this kid is the future, he’s got to learn exactly how to take care of himself in the month of September, or during a long season.’ So I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to put him back in there. He’s had two days off. He should be fine.’”