Ruben Tejada Looked Impressive In The Cage

New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida

Ruben Tejada has prepared all winter to come into camp hoping that he could retain the starting shortstop job. Terry Collins has yet to make that decision, but with Omar Quintanilla, Wilfredo Tovar, and Wilmer Flores all ready to take their turns playing the position when spring games begin on Friday, Tejada’s hold on the job is far from certain.

In the cages on Sunday, during the morning workouts, Tejada seemed much more relaxed and was turning on the ball with something extra in his swing… The ball was just jumping off his bat… He even got some smiles from the coaches and his teammates who were waiting to bat next and were watching him intently. Honestly, this was not the same Tejada that I saw last season.

Standing just a few feet away, I saw the watchful eyes of Edgardo Alfonzo who was completely dialed into Tejada’s batting sessions. Fonzie was brought in specifically to help Tejada and Wilmer Flores, and there was a seriousness in how he went about his business.

Each time that Tejada was done with a cage session, Alfonzo was there telling him what adjustments he needed to make, and like an attentive student, Tejada listened and applied those techniques during his next session. The two of them were working in unison and it was special to just watch them work together.

The best part was the results. The next two times Tejada took his cuts, I saw some great effortless swings and even the sound of the ball hitting the bat was perfect.

However, this was batting practice and I wondered how it would translate into live game action. If Tejada can hit the ball like this and not revert to his uppercut from last season, the Mets may have something special here.

Maybe Tejada needed a wake-up call. Maybe what Collins and Alderson said about him this offseason fired him up. Whatever it was, Tejada showed up to camp highly motivated and with a chip on his shoulder. 

I wanted to ask them each a few questions, but didn’t want to interrupt what was going on. I’m going to try and get a few words with Tejada after a week’s worth of games. I’m hoping that Fonzie got through to him and that we’ll see a much improved Tejada when he steps up to the plate.

(Photo by Anthony J. Causi, NY Post)

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About David Conde 205 Articles
David was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a lifelong Mets fan.
  • RyanF55

    I truthfully laughed when I read this article’s title.

  • Tommy

    This gives us Met fans a glimmer of hope! It seems pretty obvious at this point that the Mets are done signing free agents (no Stephen Drew), so we are going to have to make due with what we have! Now if Tejada is any kind of competitor (you would assume so?), you would think he would have to have come to camp fired up & with a chip on his shoulder! I would be if I were him! I would be pissed and ready to show TC & Alderson where to stick it after I light things up! Hopefully Tejada has the same attitude!

  • Metsaholic

    I’m smiling too and hoping I am so wrong about Tejada and that we can expect him to obviously be better than last year. And perhaps better than his best so far.

  • Alex68

    February 24th…. means absolutely nothing up until we start the season… we need everyone to over achieve if we wanna get to 80 wins…

  • Metsaholic

    Laughed out of joy and hope that we may have a player, or laughing that perhaps batting practice means nothing and David is only seeing what he wants to see?

  • Metsaholic

    I think if everyone over achieves, we’ll win the division. And that prospect is not expected.

  • RyanF55

    The latter

  • RyanF55

    Or maybe the entire NL East will under-perform!

  • SRT

    Wait, the Mets brought Fonzie in to help Tejada?
    How did I miss that? Very cool.

  • Alex68

    As of now, the way we’re constructed, what’s you W/L prediction?

  • CJM

    I remember Edgar Alfonzo (Fonzie’s older brother) managing with various Mets minor league affiliates. He was managing in the Astros’ system last season. He used to call his younger brother during games to talk about Fonzie’s swing in previous at-bats. Now it looks like Edgardo might have aspirations of coaching in the future. He managed the World Team in last year’s Futures Game and in an interview, it sounded like he might want to become a hitting coach one day. Interesting stuff.

  • SRT

    I didn’t know he managed in the Futures Game last year.
    If he does want to coach, here’s hoping we seem him at the ML level some day.

  • Spartacus

    He looked amazing smokin line drives off that flame throwing pitching machine. Or was it against TC’s heater. Lol… The Mets always make a big deal about bullpen sessions and batting practice during the first week of the spring.

  • Metsaholic

    Really, I don’t make predictions for teams I root for. I have worse case, expectations and hopes. Worse case and they are status quo, which means they play .473. My expectation is that the best they can do is .500. If they over achieve, .543.

  • Helloboy

    I think with Tejada the preseason is important. He was horrid last spring, i mean horrid and it never got better when the year started. Something was clearly wrong with him from the get go. If he performs well in the spring, and looks like he cares, it would be a good sign in his case.

    Davis is different as he has weaknesses against certain pitches and needs to guess to hit. in ST when people do not have game plans he can look better. I do not think this is really the case with Tejada, who is not a power hitter.

  • Every team does the same thing! Its what they do. It get everyone fired up that’s all…

  • trevordunn

    He looked good in the batting cage on February 24th…that’s it, I’m sold on him now….SS of the future….I looked good on the driving range hitting balls 250 yards dead straight, but then on the golf course….things changed

  • 2aSupport

    Exactly. Anyone looks good hitting 50 mph lobs

  • 2aSupport

    How to properly ground out to shortstop

  • trevordunn

    every other team in MLB uses spring training to get ready. the mets use it to evaluate their players which is probably the most idiotic thing an organization can do..

  • SCarton12

    Good if he has a bounce back year, trade him. You cannot trust a guy who slacked off, trade high. Same with Ike, don’t fall in love with these guys.

  • Helloboy

    I do not think this is evaluating, i think this is about seeing impacts of off season work. I really do not think they need to evaluate Tejada. It will be self-evident in the first week of pre-season if he is the same guy from last year or not.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    It’s both. Every team has players in camp they’re evaluating. Come on.

  • elsid1986

    How will it translate to game action? Same as always, lazy fly balls

  • elsid1986

    Maybe they can transplant Fonzie’s heart into lazy Tejada

  • trevordunn

    they are using ST to determine who will play 1b and SS and CF everyday….

  • agetting

    This is so dumb. When will we ever see an article that says…”Tejada looks terrible in the cage.”

  • metFAN660

    Wait….you’re saying that maybe…..just maybe….he isn’t washed up at 24? Who’d a thunk it?

  • GW

    Ha!

  • GW

    The article will be called ‘Tejada looks terrible during real games.’

  • elsid1986

    Not washed up at all, he is returning to form. A slap hitter with no power and no speed.

  • Kirk Cahill

    You think every other team in baseball has their team set and uses ST as practice? Really?

  • elsid1986

    Yea which crap do the play at short. and which crap do the play at first.

  • elsid1986

    75 wins and the Sandy supporters will be rejoycing because they were better than last year.

  • Kirk Cahill

    I don’t understand why so many Mets fans are dying to see Tejada fail or blatantly rooting against him. It’s like you all forgot how steady he was for the first 2+ years. Letting 57 poor games decide a players career is irresponsible. I’m not saying he’s the SS of the future, but maybe he can get back to what he was and be a bridge to the SS of the future. Right now he’s wearing the blue and orange, so why not get behind him?

  • nutshot

    tejada looked ok. the batting practice they’re only doing so far is overhand soft toss from 30 feet by the coaches. no one has taken live bp from met pitchers yet. today pitchers threw to batters standing in the box but no swings

    the guys to me who looked the best so far hitting this type of bp were d’arnau (surprised. parked a few out to left and lots of hard liners), duda (most of what he hit either cleared the right field fence by 30 feet or was a screaming gap liner), plawecki (his listed weight of 205 must have been his freshman weight at Purdue because he’s as big as a redwood, at least 225. nice level swing, ball sounds good off his bag, loud), Puello had one awesome session (he’s a monster too) and a couple so so rounds. the guy throwing bp in his group today stunk and was messing guys up

  • metFAN660

    A .290 slap hitter who knows how to work a count batting 8th? I’ll take it, as most MLB teams would.

  • elsid1986

    It’s not rooting about for or against him. It’s about this organization seeing a glaring weakness and doing absolutely nothing about it, then telling us all we should expect better this year because Tejada and Duda went to a fat farm . …..

  • Kirk Cahill

    I think you can expect more from Tejada because he’s a better player than he showed last year. I think he’s a capable stopgap until we find a long term answer at the position.

  • elsid1986

    This team is going have an awful lot of 8th place hitters then. Didn’t Legares bat 8th most of the time last year? So now Tejada is 7th? Or is he lead off the way I have read some writers speculate?
    Tejada would not play for 95% of the teams out there. If you think otherwise you are kidding yourself .

  • metFAN660

    We’ll see, Sid. A little more than a year ago, Keith Hernandez was really impressed with his approach at the plate. He knows a lot more about hitting than you or me.

  • RS

    8th on the Yankees/red sox/ cardinals or 8th on the Mets?
    That makes a big difference

  • B-Met Fan

    Nobody’s rooting against him, but Ruben lost traction with Met fans by coming to camp out of shape and unprepared last spring. That’s simply tough for folks to fathom. Ruben has worked himself into a position so many can only dream of and then, due to his own disinterest or neglect, is minimizing the opportunity. If Ruben performs as he did in his first two seasons he will win back the allegiance of Met fans quickly.

  • Andrew Herbst

    I need to see Tejada prove that he can hit in a real game. I can’t get too excited that he hit well in BP.

  • This is like someone telling you…oh this meal looks good. Great. But I’d like the end result first before I start buying that you can cook.

  • BehindTheBag

    I’d love for Tejada to prove me wrong…but right now, I don’t see him as anything more than a light hitting kid with a decent glove and no power or speed to speak of.

    I wasn’t impressed with him in 2011 or 2012 either.

  • Matt

    Wow…a professional baseball player had a good batting cage session!! Amazin’!!

  • royhobbs7

    We have to acquire Franklin; the sooner, the better. Trade Montero if need be.

  • WaltWiess

    Everybody, shut the %#^* up about Ruben. Let him play goddamn games before we run him outta town. He 25, soft hands, and has a good range.. Let’s give him a chance

  • nutsacjac

    franklin cant play shortstop any better than Wilmer Flores. go read some scouting reports

  • 2aSupport

    ALWAYS got on base? I think not. Not even close. He has ONE year (96 games) with a good OBP. He has a lower career OBP (.323) than Eric Young Jr (.325). Let’s not revise history. He’s not good, and anyone looks impressive in a batting cage.

  • Vega

    24, won’t be 25 until end of October.