PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (CBSNewYork) — Ruben Tejada might have switched teams, but he hasn’t switched hotel rooms in South Florida.
Since signing with the St. Louis Cardinals after being waived by the Mets earlier this month, the shortstop has continued living at the same hotel in Port St. Lucie, more than 30 miles away from the Cardinals’ spring training home in Jupiter.
“I have a lot of stuff here,” Tejada told reporters as he returned to Port St. Lucie to face the Mets in a Grapefruit League game on Friday. “I’m only over there for two weeks.”
New York released Tejada on March 16 in a move that saved the team $2.5 million this season. He became expendable when the Mets signed shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and second baseman Neil Walker in December.
“It surprised me a little bit, but I can’t control that,” Tejada said of his release. “I can’t do anything (about) that.
“I understand this is a business. I try to stay focused no matter what happens. Now it happened to me. It happens to everybody. You never know, and now I have another opportunity here with another team.”
Tejada, 26, said he rejected a minor league contract offer from the Yankees because he had four of five offers for major league deals. He said he picked the Cardinals because he appeared to have a clearer path to making the team after shortstop Jhonny Peralta underwent thumb surgery and will miss at least half the season.
“It’s a good organization there,” Tejada said of the Cardinals. “They have a good team. I know a lot of guys there, and I’m focused on the playoffs and World Series.”
Tejada missed the World Series with the Mets last season after he broke his leg on a controversial slide by the Dodgers’ Chase Utley in the NLDS.
When asked if he thinks the Mets might seek revenge when they play the Dodgers this season, even though he’s no longer on the team, Tejada said: “I don’t really care. That’s over for me.”
He did say that he has been keeping in touch with his ex-teammates, evening FaceTiming with Wilmer Flores and David Wright earlier this week.
“We’re still friends, no matter what, because we don’t make the decisions there or here or anywhere,” Tejada said. “We don’t make the decisions. That’s why we’re still the same. I don’t care if they are playing for another team.”