"I am a little surprised," Collins said. "A lot of it's just selfishness on my part. I take great pride in the game itself and respecting the game itself. I wish everybody had the same respect and wanted to get started as soon as possible."
Collins says he "pretty much suggested" during the offseason that Tejada should arrive early to camp, but "probably should have spelled it out." In particular, Collins wants to see his new starting shortstop begin working defensively alongside second baseman Daniel Murphy, who arrived at camp more than two weeks early.
Though he is the Mets' undisputed starting shortstop now that Jose Reyes is playing in Miami, Tejada does not have a hammerlock on the job. The Mets are eager to see how Tejada hits over a full season in the big leagues, and whether his body can withstand the rigors of playing every day.
"I know Ruben will come in in great shape," Collins said. "I know he'll be ready to go. I just wish he was here."