Tejada plans to continue playing winter ball, for now

VALENCIA, Venezuela -- Miguel Tejada knows that he'll have to retire from winter baseball and from the Caribbean Series at some point, but the Dominican shortstop won't be leaving anytime soon.

"There will come a time when my children will start growing up and they'll need more attention, but they understand that this is what I like to do," said Tejada to ESPNdeportes.com.

"Only God knows when my time will come to stop playing winter baseball. I like representing my country and playing the game," he added.

Tejada is in Venezuela as a "reinforcement" for the Licey Tigers, representing the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean World Series, in a round-robin tournament against the winners of the winter leagues of Puerto Rico (Carolina Giants), Mexico (Mazatlan Deers) and Venezuela (Caracas Lions).

In recent years, Tejada had insinuated he'd stop playing winter ball and that he'd stop playing in the Caribbean Series in order to get to major league spring training more rested.

However, neither the $72 million contract he signed with the Baltimore Orioles in 2003 nor his 918 consecutive-games streak in the majors have stopped Tejada from playing the last 11 seasons in his country with the Cibao Eagles, and it hasn't stopped him playing for the Dominican Republic in nine of the last 10 Caribbean Series, including the last seven.

"The key to playing the whole major league season and then playing winter baseball is working out hard and not being careless for a second," said Tejada.

Tejada, 29, is considered by many to be the best shortstop in the majors. He was the American League MVP in 2002 and had 150 RBI in 2004.

"I think the best way to keep fit is playing ball. I don't know how to do anything else and I don't like anything else but baseball," said Tejada.