SEATTLE -- The baseball scuff on Ruben Tejada's batting helmet offered a tangible reminder of how lucky he was. In a frightening moment during Wednesday's 3-2 Mets win over the Mariners, Tejada crumpled to the ground after a 94-mph Taijuan Walker fastball struck him in the helmet.
Afterward, a laughing Tejada discussed how scared he was when he first fell to the ground, knowing there was nothing he could have done to prevent the ball from smacking into the front of his helmet. Lying motionless for a few moments, Tejada eventually climbed to his feet and left the game, walking off without assistance.
"It scared me," said Tejada, who did not have so much as a headache after the game. "I saw the ball and tried to protect, but that was the only thing I could do in that moment."
Mets trainers ran a series of tests on Tejada, determining that he likely avoided a concussion. The team planned no roster moves to guard against any lingering effects for Tejada, who boarded a charter plane with his teammates and flew to Milwaukee.
"He feels pretty good," manager Terry Collins said. "We've got to get on a plane, which the doctors say he'll be OK. We'll take another look at him [Thursday] just to make sure he's OK, but right now he feels pretty good."
With the Mets lacking a true middle infielder on their bench, utility man Eric Campbell pinch-ran for Tejada on Wednesday and remained in the game at shortstop. Campbell is capable of continuing to play that position, though the Mets would have called up a true middle infielder from Triple-A Las Vegas if they believed Tejada would miss significant time. Wilmer Flores, who is hitting .319 with 12 home runs in 54 games with the 51s, would have been the obvious candidate.
Tejada is batting .235 in 87 big league games, briefly losing his job to Flores earlier this season before wrestling it back. The Mets kept Flores on the bench for a while thereafter, ultimately sending him to the Minors in an effort to give him more regular at-bats.