Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Collins has faith in Tejada
By Mike Mazzeo
New York Mets middle infielder Ruben Tejada says he learned a lot from his first stint with the big club last season. The Mets are hoping he can apply that knowledge in his second go-around this season.
"I think he's got a high ceiling [offensively]," manager Terry Collins said of Tejada, who was called up on Monday and will play second base. "Last year at the age of 20 years old, I'm sure you guys saw some bright things. Well, you can imagine with more experience and more seasoning that you'll see those things on a very consistent basis. This guy has a very good knowledge of the strike zone, he has a very good two-strike approach.
"One of the things I saw in Buffalo last year was his handling the bat deep in the count, where he'll take a ball the other way. He's dangerous enough. He's got just enough power that if you give him a pitch to hit early in the count, he'll drive it. He’ll hit a homer. So I think the future and the ceiling for this guy offensively is pretty high."
Collins called Tejada's defense "a given."
"He's got great hands and a great arm," Collins said. "As I told you guys in spring training, that I wanted him to play shortstop. Well right now, as I told the players, you gotta adjust and I gotta adjust. We need him to play second base right now, and I know he knows how to play there, so he'll give us defensively as good as you're gonna need at second base for sure."
Tejada played in 76 games with the Mets in 2010, hitting .213 with one homer and 15 RBIs in 213 at-bats.
"It [feels like] the first time [I got called up]," said Tejada, who found out about his promotion at 11 p.m. on Monday. "But it's this year so it feels good."
Although Tejada is only supposed to be a temporary call-up until third baseman David Wright returns from the disabled list, Collins said that if the 21-year-old makes the most of this opportunity, he could stay with the Mets long-term.
"I certainly can't sit here today and predict what will happen with him," Collins said. "[But] if he comes here and plays the way I've seen him play in the past, I mean you gotta figure out how to keep him, and we'll end up trying to do that."