Ruben Tejada reported early on Sunday and manager Terry Collins was impressed today by how he looked, saying: “You can tell he’s really worked hard and trimmed down. I asked him how much faster he was. He said, ‘I’ll show you.’ And I said, ‘OK, good.’ He’ll have the chance.’’
He appears to have gotten the message, with the proof being showing up to spring training Sunday, almost a week ahead of schedule.
Technically, he reported on time two years ago, but Collins’ way of thinking was in Tejada’s first year as starter he should have shown initiative and reported even earlier.
Tejada redeemed himself by hitting .289 in 2012, but didn’t report in peak shape last spring and his work ethic was brought into question. Tejada got off to a miserable start both at the plate and in the field, was injured and eventually optioned to the minors.
He struggled when he returned and ended the season with a fractured leg and seemingly out of the Mets’ future plans.
Other than the market, what moved the Mets toward a Tejada encore was his commitment in an off-season fitness camp in Michigan.
Tejada’s presence in Ann Arbor, and reporting early is a good sign.
(Photo by Anthony J. Causi)