In the minor leagues. Ruben Tejada was mostly a shortstop. In the major leagues, Ruben Tejada has been mostly a second baseman. But with Jose Reyes gone, Tejada's going to be a shortstop again. Specifically, the New York Mets' starting shortstop, at the tender of age of 22.
He played well for the big club last season, but that wasn't enough for the manager. Andrew Keh (via the Times):
When Ruben Tejada reports here for spring training Saturday, Manager Terry Collins will explain to him what it means to be the guy.
Collins was disappointed this week because Tejada, who became the Mets’ starting shortstop this winter, had not arrived early to camp. He said Friday that he would meet with Tejada when he arrived — not to chide or embarrass him, but to let him know that more eyes are on you when you are the starter.
And, of course, Tejada has not broken any team rules. Incidentally, the team’s other shortstops, Ronny Cedeno and Omar Quintanilla, were not in camp this week either.
But that did not much diminish Collins’s disappointment, which he acknowledged could appear selfish.
If Collins isn't some sort of master psychologist, I'm not sure why we're reading about this. Terry Collins is disappointed in someone who's important to him. Guess what. Same here. But I didn't broadcast my feelings to the world. And I could have. Twitter.
A lot of players think spring training's too long. Especially considering that most players these days stay in pretty good shape during the off-season. Which, for the Mets, didn't last quite five months. Some players get to camp as soon as they can. Apparently David Wright and Jason Bay and Johan Santana have been hanging around since Thanksgiving. Good for them. But everybody's different. Rubén Tejada just turned 22. Maybe he wanted to enjoy his time off. If he was getting his work in back home in Panama -- and we don't have any reason to think he wasn't -- who's to begrudge him that time? Especially considering that the U.S. probably still seems far, far away from home to him.
But there I go, trying to read someone's mind. I shouldn't do that, because I'm terrible at it. I've got a sneaking suspicion that Terry Collins is, too.