Ruben Tejada: Former Mets Short Stop Who Got the Rule Changed for Sliding into Second Base After Injury (2010 - 2016/ 2019)

Ruben Dario Tejada was Born on October 27th, 1989, in Santiago, Veraguas, Panama. His father was a mechanic & his mother worked as a secretary. He also has a younger brother.

As a youth he competed in the 2001 Little League World Series & then in 2006 the World Junior Championship.

The five-foot eleven infielder was signed by the New York Mets in 2006 as an amateur free agent.

He played for the St. Lucie Mets in 2007, moving on to AA Binghamton in 2008 where he hit .289.

Mets Career: In 2010 young 20-year-old baby faced kid was invited to the Mets Spring Training & made the club heading north to New York. Tejada e was the third youngest player in the league. 

He debuted as a pinch hitter, in the second game of the season and then played out through the 10th inning at second base.

On April 9th he got his first big league hit, coming against the Washington Nationals at Citi field. After that game he was sent down to AAA Buffalo rejoining the club in early June when Luis Castillo got injured. 

 In mid-July he was sent back to Buffalo then rejoined the club less than a month later, spending the rest of the season playing second base & at short stop when Joe Reyes got injured as well.

On September 5th at Wrigley Field, he hit his first career HR & drove in five runs in a Mets 18-5 romp against the Chicago Cubs. Tejada would bat just .213 with 1 HR 12 doubles & 15 RBIs in 78 games played.

He was used for his glove more than his bat, although there is hope the Mets can turn him into a solid singles hitter. 

In 50 games at second base, he posted a .972 fielding % & in 28 games at short posted a .982 fielding %. Overall, in between sparkling defensive plays he made eight errors in 331 chances.

Tejada began the season at AA Buffalo but was called up on May 17th when David Wright went down with an injury. Tejada played second base as Justin Turner moved over to third base.

At the end of May entering June, he was batting .313 & had six hits with six RBIs in a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would bat .250 with four doubles & 19 RBIs into July when he was sent back down to Buffalo at the All-Star break.

At second base he posted a .993 fielding% making just one error in 152 chances (32 games). On August 8th he was promoted back to the Mets team when Jose Reyes & Daniel Murphy were placed on the DL. He saw steady playing time finishing the year batting .284 with 15 doubles, no HRs 35 RBIs & a .360 on base %.

At short stop he posted a .956 fielding % making eight errors in 41 games. He played in 55 games at second base with four errors & a .984 fielding % turning 31 double plays.

In the off season the Mets let Jose Reyes go to free agency, making Tejada the heir to the short stop position.

2012: In April of 2012 he batted .300 to start out the year. On April 21st he drove in three run in a 5-4 Mets win against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field. In May he was batting .305 when he suffered an injury shutting him down for six weeks.

He returned in June as the Mets were surprising people contending early on in the NL East. On June 29th, he had himself a four-hit day against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In July he hit safely in 20 of 24 games, almost making people forget about Reyes who was struggling in Florida. 

On August 1st he led off a game in San Francisco with a HR off Matt Cain, it was his only HR of the year.

On September 23rd he singled in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Florida Marlins to win the game with an exciting walk off hit. He was greeted in the post-game interview with a cream pie to the face courtesy of Justin Turner. On the season he batted .289 with 26 doubles, one HR, a .334 on base % & 25 RBIs.

2013: Tejada's poor work ethic, annoyed his manager Terry Collins & GM Sandy Alderson as well. Alderson said to get Tejada to do extra work was "like pulling teeth". 

After he struggled batting just .202 with no HRs & 10 RBIs, he hurt his quad & was put on the DL.

When he was ready to play, he remained at AAA Las Vegas for nearly two months before getting called back up. Collins said "With the guys who are here right now, that should be his job, but he's got to go get it. It's not going to be handed to him."

Injury: Tejada returned in September but after seven games on September 18th, Tejada made a diving catch in short left field, on a pop up off the bat of former Met: Angel Pagan. 

The Mets left fielder Andrew Brown collided with Tejada's leg & in a freak accident, he suffered a broken right fibula. His season ended with him hitting just .202.

2014: Tejada returned as the Mets main short stop posting a .985 fielding % (second in the NL). He did not hit much at all .228 average with 11 doubles 4 HRs & 30 RBIs through 9/23.

Walk Off Hit:
On July 7th, the Mets were tied with the Atlanta Braves in the bottom of the 11th inning. With runners on first & second Tejada singled off Anthony Varvaro scoring Juan Lagares with the winning run.

Toward the end of the year, he saw Wilmer Flores get more playing times at the position. The Mets had tossed around ideas of a replacement for him back in the off season, but nothing developed. Once considered the heir to Joe Reyes' throne, Tejada seemed to be more on the outs after disappointing the expectations.

Quotes- Ruben Tejada: “I don’t pay any attention to it; my job is to get better. I want to finish strong and stay ready. You never know what is going happen whether it’s here or someplace else.”

2015 NL Pennant Season: Tejada found himself back on the Mets infield, as David Wright went down with injury most of the year, it left an open spot. 

Tejada benefited seeing action in 81 games at short stop posting a .982 fielding %, turning 36 double plays making just five errors.  He also played 19 games at third & 13 at second.

On April 19th, in a game against the Miami Marlins, Tejada hit a bases loaded double clearing the bases helping the Mets in a seven-run 5th inning. A month later he would have another three RBI game also against the Marlins. 

In June he would drive in runs in back-to-back games against the Toronto Blue Jays in Mets wins at Citi Field.

In mid-July he had a ten-game hit streak, where he drove in five runs in that span. On September 2nd, Tejada hit a two run inside the park HR in a 9-4 Mets win over the Phillies at Citi Field. 

He would drive in four runs that day, collecting a pair of hits as well. On the year Tejada batted .261 with 3 HRs 23 doubles 28 RBIs & a .338 on base %.

2015 Post Season-NLDS: Mets Manager Terry Collins named Ruben Tejada the Mets shortstop for the post season, as to tighten up the defense up the middle.

In Game #1 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tejada drew a one out walk off Clayton Kershaw in the 7th inning, with the Mets up 1-0. He would score on David Wright's two run single giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.

In Game #2 in the bottom of the 7th inning, 
Mets longtime nemesis Chase Utley came in to pinch hit & singled to right field with a runner on & the Mets up 2-1. Bartolo Colon came on to pitch & Howie Kendrick hit a bouncer to the right side of second base. 

Daniel Murphy fielded the ball & tossed to Tejada. Tejada leaned to his left caught the ball, made an awkward spin & was leveled by Chase Utley who never attempted to slide until he hit Tejada.

Tejada lay on the ground as the trainer, Terry Collins & his teammates came out to his aid. His leg was secured by paramedics & him was driven off the field on a cart. Tejada suffered a broken fibula as a result of the dirty slide. He was out for the remainder of the post season. 

The slide was deemed illegal by baseball rules & Utley was suspended for two games. MLB's dean of discipline at the time, Joe Torre led an investigation for the league to tighten up the rule on sliding into infielders on the base paths. 

New Rules: In February 2016 the rule was changed by MLB stating "the base runner must make a bona fide attempt to reach the base. Although he can still initiate contact, he cannot change his path to get to the fielder or use a roll block to take him out. The runner must begin his slide & make contact with the ground before he reaches the base. 

He must be able to reach the base with his hand or foot & make an attempt to do so. He must slide within reach of the base without changing his pathway for the purpose of initiating contact. If he initiates, contact with the fielder in order to break u a double play he'll be out for interference & the batter running will be out at first as well.

A new rule similar to this rule was soon set in place for sliding into home plate & not barreling over catchers.

Tejada's injury infuriated the Mets team as well as their fans. As the NLDS moved to New York, the Mets fans gave Tejada a tremendous standing ovation during the pre-game introductions to Game #3. He walked on the field with a cane.

In the next two games, the Mets fans kept chanting "we want Utley" & probably would have torn him apart if they could get to him.

The Mets won the series & advanced to the NLCS in five games.

After the post season, the Mets chose to tender Tejada's contract for 2016. But in Spring Training 2016 he was released.

Post Mets Career: He signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals & played 23 games there before getting released. He then signed with the San Francisco Giants in June & played 13 games there before being sent to the minors in mid-July. 

In 2017 Tejada signed on with the Baltimore Orioles, batting .230, playing in 41 games for the. He
was granted free agency & in Spring Training of 2019 
he signed a minor league deal, returning to the New York Mets organization. 

Return to the Mets: He spent most of the season at AAA Syracuse playing 73 games batting .326 with 20 doubles 6 HRs & 42 RBIs for AAA Syracuse. He came up to the Mets team in mid-August, he played in six games going hitless in nine at bats. He played at second, short & third base. At the end of August, he was designated for assignment.

Mets Career:
 In his six-year Mets career, he batted .255 with 10 HRs 99 doubles one triple 148 RBIs 198 runs scored & a .330 on base %.  
At short stop he has played 425 Mets games (sixth on the Mets all-time list). He posted a .976 fielding % making 43 errors in 1770 chances, turning 257 double plays. Tejada has also played 118 games at second base & 19 at third base.

Tejada sogned minor league deals with Blue Jays, Phillies & White Sox playing in their minor through 2021.

Career Stats: In his career he played 663 games with 530 hits batting .250 with 10 HRs 110 doubles 1 triple 225 runs scored & 158 RBIs. He drew 202 walks, posting a .324 on base & a .641 IPS.

The versatile infielder has played 476 games at short stop, 126 at second base, 50 at third base & even pitched a scoreless inning.


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