Thursday, March 13, 2014
Shortstop 'situation' continues for Mets
By Adam Rubin
VIERA, Fla. -- Ruben Tejada’s performance Thursday only exacerbated the Mets’ shortstop “situation,” although Terry Collins nonetheless gave Tejada a vote of confidence.
Tejada committed his third error in six Grapefruit League games, falling to handle a routine grounder from Zach Walters that would have ended the fourth inning.
Tejada also went 0-for-3 at the plate, including grounding into a 5-4-3 double play to end the top of the third against Ross Detwiler with two on base. Tejada is now 1-for-15 in Grapefruit League play. He had been sidelined for a week early in camp with a hamstring issue, too.
Said Collins: "I talked to him today about trying to relax a little bit, quit worrying about things. I said, 'Listen, you're the shortstop here. Your name and your number are going to be in the lineup. So you've just got to go be the player we know you can be and quit worrying about trying to impress everybody. We've seen you in the past. Two years ago you were the talk of the town. You had a bad year. Big deal. Forget it. It's over.'"
Despite Sandy Alderson’s play-it-cool statement that Tejada is not under a microscope and insistence there is no “situation,” the pressure has to be mounting for the Mets to find an alternative at shortstop.
The Seattle Mariners have Nick Franklin available, and former Mets GM Joe McIlvaine continues to scout the Mets for that organization. McIlvaine attended the Mets-Nats game Thursday.
Tejada insisted he is not overthinking things with the spotlight focused on him.
“Errors happen. Everybody makes them,” Tejada said. “I have a couple this week. I’ll keep working and keep staying mentally positive and keep playing hard.”
As for the error, Tejada said: “I tried to catch it with two hands. To the glove side, it’s better to play it with one hand, especially with two outs and a man on first. The next one I’ll try to catch it with one hand and make sure of the out at second.”
Tejada said he actually felt “much better” at the plate Thursday.
“I took a couple of pitches and stayed in my zone and didn’t try to do too much,” Tejada said.