New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada started a major league game on Wednesday night for the first time in nearly three and a half months. Tejada suffered an injury in late May, but even after he healed and was eligible to come off the disabled list, the Mets decided to keep him in the minors after his play was inconsistent throughout the first two months of the season.
Now that he’s bag in the big leagues, Tejada has a lot to prove this September.
Tejada wasn’t as sure-handed defensively during the first two months of this season as the Mets have been accustomed to seeing from him. He also went through an extended slump prior to his injury in May, as he was barely able to keep his batting average above .200. As a result, the Mets were comfortable staying with Omar Quintanilla as their shortstop for a majority of the season.
With a few weeks left in the season, Tejada should start to see the majority of playing time at shortstop for the Mets, and he’ll have to make up for his lackluster play early in the season and prove to the Mets that he’s a much better player than what he showed in April and May.
The Mets made a statement by not bringing Tejada back to the majors earlier even when he played well and Quintanilla struggled, and now it’s time for Tejada to respond with his play on the field.
The Mets are likely to explore options at shortstop outside the organization this offseason, meaning Tejada’s time in New York could be coming to an end. Tejada could make a great backup middle infielder for the Mets next season, but after being their opening day shortstop the past two seasons, Tejada may not welcome the role change and the Mets may not want to put him in that role.
It’s up to Tejada to prove to the Mets that he should remain their primary shortstop next season, but he has a lot to prove, and not a lot of time.
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