VIERA, Fla. - Ruben Tejada went 0-for-3 Thursday and is 1-for-15 in spring training. He made an error on a routine play, his third such miscue in his last five games.
Still, after his day was over, Tejada was told by Mets manager Terry Collins that he will be the team's shortstop this season.
"I talked to him today about trying to relax a little bit," Collins said after the Mets' 7-5 win over the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. "Quit worrying about things.
"I said, 'Listen, you're the shortstop here. Your name and your number are going to be in the lineup. You've just got to go be the player we know you can be and you quit worrying about trying to impress everybody. We've seen it in the past and two years ago, you were the talk of the town. You had a bad year. Big deal. Forget it. It's over. Everybody has a [bad] year. Guys that are in the Hall of Fame have had [bad] years. So move on.' "
Collins' statement to and about Tejada marks an apparent change in the Mets' thinking -- perhaps a realization that they have little choice but to start the season with the 24-year-old in the lineup. Or it could have been Collins' last-gasp effort to motivate Tejada.
General manager Sandy Alderson said only one day earlier that the Mets will "continue to look at what our options may be" at shortstop while evaluating Tejada. Wilmer Flores started a game there earlier this week but isn't considered a real candidate. Omar Quintanilla is the other shortstop in camp.
On the trade front, the Mets have monitored Seattle second baseman Nick Franklin with the idea of converting him to shortstop. A report Thursday on CBSSports.com said the Orioles and Rays also are interested in Franklin, who started two of his 102 games last season at short.
Franklin, 23, hit .225 with 12 homers and 45 RBIs in his rookie season and became expendable when the Mariners signed Robinson Cano.
On Thursday, Tejada booted a potential inning-ending grounder hit to his left in the fourth inning.
"I tried to catch it with two hands," he said. "To the glove side, maybe it's better with one hand. Especially with two outs and a man on first. The next one I'll try to catch it with one hand and make sure of the out at second."
Tejada said the increased scrutiny he has faced has not affected him mentally.
"Errors happen," Tejada said. "Everybody makes them. I've had a couple this week. I have to keep working and stay mentally positive and keep playing hard."
Collins said he couldn't tell if the quiet Tejada needed to hear his message in order to relax and start playing like the promising youngster he seemed to be in 2012, when he hit .289 in 114 games.
Last year, Tejada hit .202 and spent much of the season with Triple-A Las Vegas.
"I can't answer what he's thinking," Collins said. "I know he's a better player, especially defensively . . .
"We know it's in him."