"Wally said he thought he was ready," Collins said of Tejada. "He said he was running very, very well. He thought his at-bats were better. We know he's a big part of the lineup. We thought it was time for him to come up, get some at-bats and get back in form here."
Tejada went 4-for-21 in six rehab games with Buffalo and 1-for-9 at Class A Advanced St. Lucie. Tejada said he has been playing at 100 percent for only his past three games and feels like he has rebounded at the plate.
"I'm playing at full game speed; you have to stay 100 percent to be here," Tejada said. "I have to start again. For me, it's like the same as the first day after a month, month and a half [on the DL]. But I feel good."
Collins has liked tinkering with his lineup this season in search of better situational hitting against left- or right-handed pitching, but he said he intends to use Tejada in both situations. Playing left-handed-hitting regulars like Josh Thole, Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Omar Quintanilla, the Mets have struggled against left-handed pitching this season, specifically against teams with several lefty relievers. The team is hitting .249 against left-handed pitchers, as opposed to .258 against right-handers.
"He has got such an upside offensively that we don't have to pile all those left-handed bats in there where you really are susceptible to left-handed relief pitching," Collins said. "When we get back to playing in our division, the Braves have got two real good ones. Washington has got four now in the bullpen. Philly has got four in the bullpen. Having some right-handed bats in the lineup that can certainly do some damage against right- or left-handed pitching certainly makes you better."
In his past 10 games, Valdespin was hitting .300 with six RBIs. While Collins said the decision to send down Valdespin was tough, the manager needed to find at-bats for his other infielders, such as Tejada, Quintanilla, Murphy and Ronny Cedeno.
"Jordany has got to go play," Collins said. "I told him when I sent him out, 'You were very impressive here in your last 10 days -- now continue it. Go down there and build on it. Go down there, because in my opinion, your Minor League days are getting shorter and shorter.'"