There are times when Ruben Tejada finds himself on Coach Terry’s good side, and other times when he is on Coach’s bad side. As you wake up this Sunday morning, Ruben Tejada is precariously teetering somewhere in between, but that’s because we’re only five games into the season. Otherwise, we could very well expect Coach Terry to be even more perturbed over Ruben’s performance so far.
Earlier this morning, Matt Musico’s observation started Rising Apple’s conversation. He also highlighted Terry Collins’ recent media reaction.
Apr 5, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Miami Marlins center fielder Justin Ruggiano (20) safely steals second base as New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada (11) can
Ruben Tejada is struggling with his glove, committing four errors now in the first five games of the season. He committed 12 errors all last season, and it does have Terry Collins a little concerned, as it should be. However, the manager said he wouldn’t be surprised if the cold weather is playing a role in his struggles. Whether it is or not, Ruben still needs to start making some plays.
I’m not suggesting Ruben is in jeopardy of losing his overall starting job at shortstop. I believe that is a very remote possibility. However, during this season in particular, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins utilize Omar Quintanilla, (currently playing for Las Vegas), as a motivating tool for putting a fix into Ruben Tejada. To Omar’s credit, he played well in Spring Training. I’m starting to get a sense the Mets shortstop, a fan favorite I might add, could or might receive a benching – a considerable benching this season if in Terry Collins’ eyes, Tejada continues to overlook minor details of the game. I have no particular bone to pick with Tejada. In general, we Mets fans, (if I may), might be a bit more forgiving. I just do not think Terry Collins will be. The manager is in a contract year and is under pressure to show improvement over his last two seasons.
Last year, Coach Terry was not at all pleased with Ruben Tejada’s conditioning, and the negative effect it was having on his late season production. So, Ruben Tejada reported early to Spring Training this season. Terry Collins was clearly pleased by that. Ruben then proceeded to have an awful Grapefruit League, at the worst possible time. He finished with a .096 batting average in fifty-two at-bats. Ruben’s plate production went largely unspoken this spring, however, it did not go unnoticed.
In a related item, do you agree that Ruben Tejada looks a bit thicker this season? I’m sure that has to do with an off-season conditioning program. The effects of weight loss or gain differ from player to player, frame to frame, and sometimes manifest in unexpected ways. In Ruben’s case, we’ll see. I think it is worth mentioning however, Daniel Murphy had to bulk-down a bit in an effort to gain an increased measure of flexibility and agility at second base. But weight effects are just speculation on my part.
Ruben Tejada is making his own matters worse. Recently, his glove work has failed him. And unfortunately, he has committed a few errors of the managerial hair-pulling variety. Humans are imperfect. Errors will be made. Some deserve no attention. Others scream for a reaction. After committing three errors during Grapefruit League play, Ruben Tejada now has four official errors in five regular season games. His miscues however, are mounting. During this series against Miami, Ruben failed to receive an exceptional throw from John Buck on a stolen base attempt, booted a routine groundball, failed to cleanly handle Daniel Murphy’s toss while covering second base, and threw an errant ball another time to first base.
At the plate, he is compounding his problems. Anything over his spring training could be classified as improvement. Ruben is only hitting .176 though, after seventeen at-bats. Two of his three hits this season are doubles. That’s the Tejada I know.
By simply ignoring Tejada, and letting him play through my percieved Terry Collins jitters, I believe our shortstop can, and will straighten himself out. I’m only expecting his career averages – nothing more. Terry Collins has been hot for Ruben Tejada for some time now. Ruben is just making him hotter. To be fair to Coach Terry, Ruben is still only twenty-three years old. I have no problem with tough love. Ruben is just going to have to deal with whatever his play warrants. In his case, fatherly-type adversity will be a good thing.