PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera might be healthy enough to start on Opening Day after all, a prognosis that appears to have colored the Mets’ decision to officially release Ruben Tejada on Wednesday.
“He’s a great kid,” manager Terry Collins said Thursday. “We all wish him the best. I’m going to get a hold of him today and thank him for everything he’s done. I wish him all the best.”
Tejada, 26, was cut loose in a move that saved the Mets about $2.5 million. It came despite questions about Cabrera’s availability. But Collins said Cabrera has been riding an exercise bike and could resume baseball activities soon.
Last week, the Mets estimated that Cabrera could be shut down for two weeks after he was diagnosed with a strained patella tendon in his left knee.
“I feel really, really good,” said Cabrera, who expects to catch up on at-bats by playing in minor-league games.
With Cabrera on the upswing, Tejada’s release might not have as large an impact on the Mets, who will fill the void with less experienced players.
“I guess that I learned a long time ago that baseball, the business side of it, there’s some things that happen for various reasons,” David Wright said. “With that being said, I’m going to miss Ruben. I became fairly close with him and felt like he was a good player for us. Obviously, with last year, he became a rallying cry for us in the playoffs. He’ll forever kind of be linked to that postseason run.”
Wright backed the decision made by general manager Sandy Alderson.
“With that being said, I trust that Sandy and the front office make the choices, and they haven’t led us astray yet,” Wright said. “I’m sure that [Matt] Reynolds — or whoever they’re thinking of filling that role — will do a fine job.”
Indeed, Reynolds now appears to have a shot at making the roster as a middle infielder. He reached the big leagues for the first time as a roster replacement after Tejada broke his leg on Chase Utley’s infamous takeout slide in the Division Series against the Dodgers.
“It was incredible,” said Reynolds, who did not appear in a game before he was dropped from the playoff roster before the World Series. “I expected one thing and it totally blew it out of the water. I don’t even know how else to describe it. It was awesome.”