Mets Injury Updates: Ruben Tejada Could Return by Friday

By Matt Musico

Due to this weekend’s events, there are a few moves that Terry Collins and the Mets will be making in reaction to Johan Santana‘s no-hitter. However, now that Josh Thole has been back since that historic game, that leaves Ruben Tejada and Jason Bay still on the shelf, trying to get themselves ready to return to the New York lineup to help out this first-place team.

Tejada is scheduled to start his rehab assignment this week with Triple-A Buffalo. If all goes well and the 22-year-old shortstop doesn’t experience any setbacks, he could finally rejoin the Mets Friday in the Bronx as the Amazins get set for the first installment of this year’s Subway Series against the Yankees. Wally Backman said that Tejada is expected to play five innings tonight and tomorrow, seven innings on Wednesday, and then a full game on Thursday. Although New York has certainly missed Tejada at many times since he went down nearly a month ago, Omar Quintanilla(.313/.450/.438) has done a fantastic job of providing some stability to the

shortstop position in the five games since his call-up from Triple-A. He’s definitely earned the right to back up Tejada while Ronny Cedeno and Justin Turner recover from their injuries as well.

Jason Bay will take the next step in his rehab, as he will take the field in a game for Single-A St. Lucie today; if all goes well for the Mets right fielder, we could be seeing Bay return to the New York lineup tomorrow in Washington. Terry Collins said that with match-ups in AL parks coming up this weekend and next week, Bay will most likely be the team’s designated hitter. Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.301/.366/.405) has proved to be a God-send for Collins when both Bay and Andres Torres went down with injuries this year. Now that he’s shown he can perform and adjust in the Major Leagues, it’s very tough to take him out of the lineup. For now, at least, he will be able to stay on the Major League roster since Mike Baxter will be on the Disabled List following his crash with the left field wall Friday night. For the time being, Josh Satin, who appeared in 15 games with the Mets in 2011.

In case you were wondering, Johan Santana will not be missing his next start, but will be pushed back two days, starting Friday night against the Yankees in the Bronx. Johan will also be testing his arm in a side session today before hosting David Letterman’s Top-10 List on The Late Show. So, who will help facilitate this slight shift in the rotation? Yup, the team announced that Chris Young (1-0, 1.88 ERA in four starts in 2011) will be making his 2012 debut after he completed his rehab journey through the minor leagues. At this point, the starting pitcher for Wednesday night’s game against Washington hasn’t been announced yet, but Jeremy Hefner could still be in the running to get the nod from Collins.