DENVER -- Asked frequently this spring about Ruben Tejada's slump at the plate, Mets manager Terry Collins liked to say that "Ruben has a track record." Now that Tejada is slumping defensively, Collins is sticking with the same response.
"I've seen this guy play too much," the manager said. "I've never seen this, I can tell you. Never."
With an MLB-worst six defensive miscues in 13 games at shortstop, Tejada entered Wednesday's play with more errors than eight Major League teams. Though the missteps have been a mixed bag of high throws, low throws and bobbles, Collins insists that Tejada is doing nothing technically wrong. Instead, the manager said, cold weather has wreaked havoc on his shortstop.
Tejada committed only 12 errors in 112 games last year, so there is some merit to Collins' faith. But after indirectly losing a game Wednesday due to a Tejada throwing error, the Mets realize their shortstop needs to improve.
"You just try to go and say, 'Hey look, stay aggressive, stay aggressive, stay aggressive,'" Collins said. "Because the minute I go up to him and say, 'I'm really worried about what's going on here,' now all of the sudden it looks like you're panicking. And when you panic, they panic."
Mets call up reliever Familia, option Burke
DENVER -- Leaning on their bullpen for 9 1/3 innings during Tuesday's doubleheader, the Mets made a move to import a fresh arm.
The team called up right-hander Jeurys Familia from Triple-A Las Vegas on Wednesday, optioning submariner Greg Burke to the Minors. Familia, who broke camp with the Mets in an eight-man Opening Day bullpen, has not allowed a run in five innings since his early-April demotion to Vegas.
"We felt we needed pitching," manager Terry Collins said. "He's throwing the ball very well, and he's basically one of those guys that can give us multiple innings if we need it."
Burke had served as a de facto long man for the Mets, facing more than three batters in six of his seven appearances. In the first month of his second full season as a submariner, Burke gave up six earned runs in 7 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking three. His only clean inning of the year came Friday in Minneapolis.
The Mets feel that because he is still learning the ropes of his new delivery, Burke can benefit from a spell at Triple-A.
"I said, 'Go down there and continue to work at some things,'" Collins said. "We saw the other night in Minnesota how dominant he can be when the sinker's working and he's pounding the strike zone. Our conditions have been tough to get a consistent feel for the baseball. It's very, very difficult. I just said, 'Go down there, keep working on it and get back.'"