DENVER -- Asked frequently this spring about Ruben Tejada's slump at the plate, Mets manager Terry Collins liked to say that "Ruben has a track record." Now that Tejada is slumping defensively, Collins is sticking with the same response.
"I've seen this guy play too much," the manager said. "I've never seen this, I can tell you. Never."
With an MLB-worst six defensive miscues in 13 games at shortstop, Tejada entered Wednesday's play with more errors than eight Major League teams. Though the missteps have been a mixed bag of high throws, low throws and bobbles, Collins insists that Tejada is doing nothing technically wrong. Instead, the manager said, cold weather has wreaked havoc on his shortstop.
Tejada committed only 12 errors in 112 games last year, so there is some merit to Collins' faith. But after indirectly losing a game Wednesday due to a Tejada throwing error, the Mets realize their shortstop needs to improve.
"You just try to go and say, 'Hey look, stay aggressive, stay aggressive, stay aggressive,'" Collins said. "Because the minute I go up to him and say, 'I'm really worried about what's going on here,' now all of the sudden it looks like you're panicking. And when you panic, they panic."