NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Ruben Tejada came into spring training with something to prove.
But so far all he’s done is fuel the naysayers calling for the New York Mets to bring in a guy like free agent Stephen Drew to fix the issues at shortstop.
Tejada, coming off a nightmarish 2013 season, added to his spring woes with an error on a routine grounder Thursday against the Washington Nationals.
It was his third error in six games. And that number doesn’t begin to indicate just how rusty he’s looked in the field.
“Errors happen,” Tejada said after the Mets’ 7-5 win. “Everybody makes them. I have a couple this week, but I’ve just got to keep working and keep mentally positive and keep playing hard.”
The 24-year-old hasn’t helped his case at the plate, either. He went 0 for 3 on Thursday, dropping his spring average to .067 (1 for 15).
“I talked to him today about trying to relax a little bit,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I said, ‘Listen, you’re the shortstop here. Your name and your number are going to be in the lineup. Go be the player we know you can be.’ ”
Tejada has insisted he’s been unaffected by rumors of the team considering Drew or possibly trading for Seattle Mariners infielder Nick Franklin. Many fans have run out of patience with Tejada — and are unhappy with the inaction from general manager Sandy Alderson.
“I can’t answer what he’s thinking,” Collins said of Tejada. “I just know he’s a better player, especially defensively.”
Once considered the heir apparent to Jose Reyes, Tejada hit .202 with 12 doubles and 10 RBIs in 2013. His season, which included a lengthy demotion, ended when he fractured his leg on Sept. 18.
Questions about his fitness and work ethic have also dogged him since reporting to Port St. Lucie out of shape last year.
“Two years ago, you were the talk of the town,” Collins said. “You had a bad year. Big deal. Everybody has a bad year. Guys in the Hall of Fame had bad years. So move on.”
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