Tejada brushes off Reyes' criticism

Tejada brushes off Reyes' criticism

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Ruben Tejada brushed aside criticism on Saturday from former teammate and mentor Jose Reyes, who told Newsday he was surprised Tejada has not done more to seize the Mets' shortstop job.

"I don't really pay attention to rumors," Tejada said. "If I tried to pay attention to everybody, it would make me crazy. So I take the good things about everybody and try to do my best here, and come here every day to work hard."

In an interview with Newsday earlier this week, Reyes said he was disappointed that Tejada showed up to camp overweight several years ago and that he has not seized the shortstop job that now belongs to Wilmer Flores.

"I said, 'Man, this position is going to be yours now for a long time,'" Reyes told Newsday, recalling a conversation he had with Tejada shortly before joining the Marlins as a free agent. "'Do the right stuff, work hard and you're going to be here in New York. Because the talent is there. You're so young. Twenty-one years old and you play already at a high level in the big leagues. Don't let that ever go away.' And now he's in a tough position because he doesn't even have a position."

Reyes is far from Tejada's only critic. Both general manager Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins have both publicly disapproved of Tejada's work ethic in the past. Collins chastised Tejada for not showing up to camp early in 2012, his first year taking over from Reyes, while Alderson said that getting Tejada to do extra work was "like pulling teeth."

Though Tejada did travel to Michigan last winter to take part a team-sponsored Barwis Methods fitness camp, then reported to Port St. Lucie early this spring to work again with Barwis, he hit only .237 with a .652 OPS last season. That is hardly what the Mets envisioned when they watched Tejada bat .284 with a .696 OPS as a 21-year-old in 2011 -- which is why Flores is now penciled in as the Mets' starting shortstop, with Tejada ticketed for the bench.

Though Reyes and Tejada used to be workout partners in Long Island, the pair has not worked together for several years.

"He tried to help me a lot," Tejada said of Reyes' mentoring. "I appreciated him, a veteran guy like him, All-Star, trying to help me. I appreciated it."

Asked if he has spoken to Reyes about his recent criticisms, Tejada shook his head.

"Maybe later," he said.

Anthony DiComo is the Mets beat reporter for MLB.com. He has been covering the team since 2010.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.