Shortstop Ruben Tejada's tortured season came to a painful end late in the Mets' 5-4 comeback victory over the Giants Wednesday night, when a collision with teammate Andrew Brown left him with a fractured right fibula. The injury proved to be a fitting conclusion for a season in which Tejada's stock within the organization has plunged.
The 23-year-old began the year as the team's starting shortstop. But by the end, his conditioning and work ethic had come under fire from decision-makers within the organization. When Tejada was ready to come back from a quad injury earlier this season, he remained in Triple-A Las Vegas, replaced by journeyman Omar Quintanilla.
Tejada returned to the big leagues only after rosters expanded in September.
"You feel bad for Ruben because he had something to really prove here in the last couple of weeks," manager Terry Collins said. "Now he's not going to get that chance."
With one out in the top of the ninth and the Mets trailing the Giants 4-1, Tejada ran to short leftfield to track down Angel Pagan's shallow fly ball. Leftfielder Brown also gave chase until he slid to get out of Tejada's way. But Brown's right leg clipped Tejada's right leg, sending the shortstop crashing into the ground after he made the catch.
Initially, Collins said Tejada insisted that he was fine. He even remained in the game for the final out of the ninth. However, Tejada labored to get off the field, a sign of trouble. The news of Tejada's broken leg shocked teammates because he did not come out of the game.
"That makes me feel really horrible, to be honest with you," Brown said. "That's the last thing I wanted to do."
As the Mets rallied in the bottom of the ninth, Collins received news of the broken leg while in the dugout. Tejada, who was not available for comment, faces an even murkier future with the club after hitting just .202 in 57 games with the Mets.
"Now, he's going to be out obviously six to eight weeks," Collins said. "He's got to really work hard this winter to get himself back in good shape."