Ruben Tejada sat out the New York Mets spring training game yesterday after straining his quad earlier in the day. The team called it a cramp and stated that he should only miss two or three days, but considering Tejada’s history and the Mets history with shortstops, this is not something that the Mets can brush off as no big deal.
From back in the days of Jose Reyes, the Mets are familiar with having shortstops that have tender leg muscles and can miss long periods of time for injuries that appear to be nothing more than minor set backs at first. Tejada himself missed six weeks last season with a similar injury that appeared to be relatively minor at first, and that’s something the Mets need to be cognizant of. It’s not even March yet, and the Mets certainly don’t need to have their starting shortstop struggling through leg injuries this early in the year.
Tejada reached the majors at a young age, and his injury last season indicates that he is yet to master the art of proper stretching and keeping himself healthy, and so the Mets need to approach any cramp, pull, or strain in Tejada’s leg with great concern. Even if it seems like the Mets are babying him too much, they need to be careful with how they approach any injury with Tejada, no matter how minor it is. One of the few strengths the Mets have this year is their infield, and a big reason why is Tejada’s presence at shortstop. New York simply can’t afford to lose him for six-week stretch the way they did last year. Tejada does need to play during the spring and get in his reps, but he has a month left, and so the Mets don’t need to rush him back and risk further injury, no matter how insignificant this latest set back appears to be.