New year, same story. Terry Collins is “disappointed” that one of his middle infielders didn’t arrive early for spring training.

Ruben Tejada's 2010 Topps baseball card

Last year, Luis Castillo found himself in the doghouse, though it’s unlikely an early arrival in Port St. Lucie would have saved his job.

This year, it’s Ruben Tejada who’s “late.

“I am a little surprised,” Collins said of Tejada’s absence. “A lot of it is just selfishness on my part. I take great pride in the game itself and respect the game itself, and I wish everybody had the same respect for it and wanted to get started as early as possible.”

His comments echo what he said last year about Castillo.  “In the position of Luis, where he is competing for a job – but I also know he’s in the Dominican. I know he went to the (Mets) academy. I know he’s done some other things, so I know he’s working out. I’m aware of that. I guess it’s selfishness on my part that I wish he would have been here.”

Castillo got to Port St. Lucie before the scheduled reporting date, and Tejada is still expected before he is officially due to arrive. (A few other veteran position players, most notably Jason Bay, have not started working out yet either… but they have not attracted Collins’ attention to the same degree.)

We’ve all heard veteran position players and former players who’ve gone up to the broadcast booth suggest that spring training is too long, so I really can’t see why it’s such a big deal that Tejada didn’t report early. Will a couple of days in February really make that big of a difference? Apparently Collins thinks so.

So, a bit of advice to anyone who will be playing for Collins in 2013: Plan on getting to spring training early if you don’t want to annoy your manager.

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About Paul Hadsall

I'm the former editor of a weekly community newspaper and current contributor to Hot Stove Baseball. I've been a New York Mets fan for most of my life and I've been blogging about them, minor league baseball, baseball cards and autograph collecting since 2007. Contact me at paul@randombaseballstuff.com

4 responses

  1. I don’t get it!…Its not like the reporting date sneaks up on you and you are surprised! When the season ends, you know you need to be back in mid Feb.

    Why do so many people have Visa problems?

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  2. It’s kind of bizarre nowadays that if you aren’t early, you’re late.

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    • Will in Central NJ says:

      Paul, I’ve read that Daniel Murphy is in camp already. Collins’ thinking, I believe, is that if Tejada were in camp, then this new DP combo could get that much more work in, together as a combo.

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  3. NJ Baseball says:

    I’m with Collins. Tejada has already been handed the starting SS job, the least he could do is show some initiative to arrive early and get to work on double plays with Murphy, who’s still got some work to do at the 2B position. That’s important. I can see the difference with Bay, who is a veteran and doesn’t need any extra work in the field, particularly not with another position player.

    Also, I doubt Collins can set a date he wants players to arrive other than the official reporting dates — that’s probably against the collective bargaining agreement. I also think there’s a rule that prohibits position players (unless they’re coming off injuries) to participate in formal team workouts before their report date. They’re allowed to hit on their own and take grounders or whatever, but I’m not sure they can be part of the official team workouts.

    I think, for Collins, it’s all a matter of perception. He wants to see some initiative on Tejada’s part without telling him what to do. He’s not the first, and won’t be the last, manager (both in the sports world and outside of it) who expects something like this.

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