ATLANTA -- For most of the second half of this season, Mets officials have been coy when asked why shortstop Ruben Tejada has not returned to the big league team.
General manager Sandy Alderson offered a window into the organization's thinking Tuesday, saying on WFAN that asking Tejada to do extra work is "like pulling teeth."
"We need to see a commitment to improvement," Alderson said of Tejada, who is batting .288 with a .337 on-base percentage over 60 games at Triple-A Las Vegas.
It was not the first time a Mets official has publicly disparaged Tejada, who entered this season as the team's undisputed starting shortstop, before a quad injury landed him on the disabled list and, ultimately, in Triple-A. Two years ago, manager Terry Collins condemned Tejada for not reporting early to Spring Training, though Tejada was not technically late.
Collins opted not to expand upon Alderson's comments Tuesday, saying only that he believes it unnecessary for Tejada to be with the Mets before Las Vegas' playoff run ends.
"I've evaluated Ruben Tejada plenty," Collins said. "I've seen him plenty of times. I've seen him 500 at-bats. I don't need to see him three more weeks to evaluate him. It's not about whether or not he can play here. He can play here. He's got to do some other things that need to get done first."