To replace Tejada, the Mets called up shortstop Jordany Valdespin, who was on the active roster as recently as Saturday. Valdespin, who was initially optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for reliever D.J. Carrasco, was eligible to return only because the team placed Tejada on the DL.
For most of this week, Valdespin will split time at shortstop with Justin Turner, who started at the position Monday. But Ronny Cedeno is due back Friday from the left intercostal strain that has sidelined him since mid-April, meaning Valdespin's stay on the roster could be brief.
So, too, might Tejada's DL stint, despite assistant general manager John Ricco's warning that "these strains can linger." Though Tejada felt markedly better a day after suffering the injury, he was still at least a week away from a potential return. Rather than play shorthanded during that span, the Mets opted to place Tejada on the DL for the first time in his career.
They know they will miss him.
"He's a tremendous defender," Collins said. "He's hitting .300. He's getting on base. He's done more than we were hoping he was going to do. He's showing everybody that he's a tremendous talent, so it's a big loss right now."
After straining his quad in the fourth inning Sunday, Tejada tumbled over the first-base bag, leading Collins to believe he may have also suffered some facial injuries. Though Tejada was sporting a large purplish welt around his left eye Monday, the injury was cosmetic. The shortstop also did not display any sort of concussive symptoms.
"It looks worse than I think it is," Ricco said.
The hope is that Tejada will be able to return as soon as he is eligible on May 22. Though Collins initially compared Tejada's injury to the groin strain that sidelined him for nine days in Spring Training, Tejada said this muscle pull is not nearly so bad.
"Spring Training, I couldn't walk," Tejada said. "Now, I can walk. I can do everything but try to run."