(Updated) One day after Terry Collins announced that Ruben Tejada suffered a broken right fibula and would miss the remainder of the season, he challenged his shortstop to comeback next Spring focused and with some fire in his belly.
“My message is real simple: this job is his,” Collins said of next year’s starting shortstop gig. “But he’s got to show everybody that he wants it desperately.”
“You’ve got to say, ‘Hey look, I’m going to dedicate this offseason to show up next spring to be the best player that I can possibly be,’” Collins said. “He’s good enough to be that guy. But as this year showed, no job’s that secure. You’ve got to come in and say, ‘This is my job. I’m taking it. Nobody else is going to get it.’”
This is not the first time that Collins felt the need to stress the importance of Tejada showing up to camp early, in shape and ready to compete.
Tejada’s work ethic came under fire when general manager Sandy Alderson said that getting him to do anything extra was “like pulling teeth.”
For now, the Mets have activated Wilfredo Tovar, who will join the Mets in Philadelphia in time for Friday nights game against the Phillies. Collins said he would platoon ‘Tovar with Omar Quintanilla for the rest of the season.
Our Binghamton beat writer John Bernhardt shared some insight on Tovar after watching him play all year for the B-Mets.
Tovar’s .263 batting average in 2013 is a bit deceiving. The B-Met shortstop got off to a horrid start in the batting box, but battled back by hitting just under .300 after the All-Star break to raise his average over 35 points in the second half of the year.
Tovar, 22, is tough out, a kid who is difficult to strike out. Tovar fanned 53 times in High-A ball in 2011, 39 times in 2012 and 49 times in Binghamton this summer. Of the 49 Eastern League players who had 400 at-bats or higher, only two had fewer strike-outs than Tovar.
Collins did go onto say that for now, he considers Tejada his primary option to be the Opening Day shortstop next season..
“I don’t ever worry about who’s not here,” Collins said. “The guys that are here right now, that should be his job. But he’s got to go get it. It’s not going to be handed to him.”
The 23-year old shortstop ends the season batting .200/.258/.259 in 57 games. He has endured a very frustrating season, but hopefully he can comeback next Spring fully healed and with a bright outlook.
That said, I think Sandy will look to fill the shortstop position with one of several options that are expected to be available in the free agent market and via trades.