WASHINGTON -- Ruben Tejada’s modest improvement over the last week has been enough to buy the embattled shortstop a second chance.
Even though prospect Wilmer Flores started on Saturday against the Nationals, Tejada will likely see the majority of the playing time at short, even after his struggles to start the year put his job in jeopardy.
“He’s getting to be the guy we know,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.
With Tejada hitting just .183, the Mets promoted Flores on May 9 in hopes of getting more offense. But after just two starts, Flores fell ill, thrusting Tejada back into the lineup on May 11. It was the first of six consecutive starts.
Though he is reaching base at a .360 clip in that span, Tejada is hitting only .238 (5-for-21).
“Ruben has had some very, very good at-bats,” Collins said. “Just because the results aren’t necessarily hits, he’s still swung the bat very well. He’s worked the count, got on base, and done the things we want him to do. And he’s played outstanding defensively.”
Even though scouts have long doubted that Flores has the range to play shortstop, the Mets were willing to make the trade-off for his promising bat. Flores went 1-for-3 with a walk against the Nationals. He has three hits in 11 at-bats since his recall.
The infielder will likely be in the lineup again with David Wright and Daniel Murphy due to get days off soon. Still, Flores finds himself relegated to spot starts when he could be playing everyday at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Said Collins: “He still has a good purpose here.”