NEW YORK -- The Mets are putting their trust in Ruben Tejada. By returning the shortstop to the leadoff spot for their game against the Yankees on Monday night, the Mets are depending on Tejada to get back to squaring up the baseball and hitting line drives like he used to.
Tejada, who was batting only .218 entering Monday's game, had been hitting too many balls in the air, so the Mets moved him down in the order. They wanted Tejada to get back to battling the pitcher to go deep into counts, but most of all, to work on not getting underneath the baseball to reduce his fly-ball rate.
Manager Terry Collins said the Mets' lineup is best with Tejada at the top of the order, but that's as long as he returns to being the type of hitter he used to be.
"We've kind of looked at some different things, and as we move forward, he's got to be the guy that leads off for us," Collins said. "Ruben's just going to have to step up, work hard on getting on base and getting back to hitting line drives."
While Tejada sorted through his struggles, the Mets slotted second baseman Daniel Murphy at leadoff. But Collins said that was more out of necessity than anything else, and that Murphy "didn't necessarily care for it." Murphy entered Monday with a .337 on-base percentage, while Tejada's was .280. Tejada finished up last season -- when he was the Mets' primary leadoff hitter -- with a .333 on-base percentage.
Collins said Tejada's swing is fine, and that he just needs to keep his weight back a little longer so he's not getting out in front on pitches. By putting Tejada back at the top of the lineup, the Mets are hoping he forces himself to do that.
"Our best lineup is with Ruben at the top of the order," said Collins.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.