PHOENIX -- Mets manager Terry Collins is as cognizant of the numbers as anyone. Since returning to the Minor Leagues about a month ago, shortstop Ruben Tejada has struggled mightily.
The reason, Collins said, is a familiar one. At Triple-A Las Vegas, Tejada continues to hit balls in the air, rather than concentrating on line drives and grounders. And the results have been plain to see: a .314 on-base percentage in 37 games at Vegas, thanks in part to his current 1-for-25 funk.
That is a significant reason why Collins said after Saturday's game that big league shortstop Omar Quintanilla is not in any danger of losing his job, despite a 2-for-20 slump of his own.
"He's had a bad week, I know that," Collins said of Tejada. "There's something going on, and I don't know what it is."
No matter what happens over the next few weeks at Vegas, Tejada -- barring injury -- will be back when rosters expand in September, likely taking some playing time away from Quintanilla. But he is a long way from re-establishing himself as the clear starter in Flushing, which he was as recently as May.
"This guy was such a good on-base guy, and that's what his job should be," Collins said. "That's what he should focus on, is getting on base and going back and being a singles and doubles guy, and drawing bases on balls and grinding out those at-bats, which he is absolutely one of the best I've been around at -- especially at his age.
"Had he gone down there and tore it up like we kind of thought he might, he'd have been back. But he's struggling."