NEW YORK -- The Mets spent much of Wednesday debating shortstop Ruben Tejada's future in the Major Leagues. Circumstances outside their control have since made that conversation moot.
Tejada pulled up lame pursuing a popup in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 9-4 win over the Yankees, and the Mets announced on Thursday that they have placed him on the disabled list. The Mets recalled shortstop Omar Quintanilla from Triple-A Las Vegas and moved Frank Francisco to the 60-day DL to clear room on the 40-man roster.
"He said he felt it running after the popup," Collins said of a Reid Brignac ball that drifted into shallow left field. "He thought he could actually maybe catch it. But … he felt his leg starting to pull on him, so he slid. And the ground ball [that followed], you could tell obviously something was wrong."
Tejada strained the same quad early last season, spending nearly two months on the disabled list. He has been mired in a 1-for-17 slump at the plate which, combined with a series of defensive and baserunning errors, had him on the verge of a Minor League demotion.
"I have to concentrate on my job," Tejada said. "I have to get better every day and go play hard every day."
Quintanilla, who nearly made the Mets' Opening Day roster, is batting .328 with a .415 on-base percentage in 46 games at Vegas.
Mets' patience with Ike, Tejada wearing thin
NEW YORK -- As Tuesday night dripped into Wednesday morning, while most Mets celebrated their third consecutive dramatic victory at Citi Field, manager Terry Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson summoned Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada into a closed-door meeting.
Acknowledging the gathering the following afternoon, Collins hinted at its substance: that if Davis and Tejada do not begin producing -- and soon -- they will find themselves playing for Triple-A Las Vegas.
Asked if he believes such an ultimatum might be effective, Collins shrugged.
"There are guys that play very well when they're comfortable, and maybe there's those guys who play even more aggressively when they're standing on the edge," Collins said. "We'll find out."
Another team official characterized the status of both players as "day to day." What's clear is each needs to start producing immediately to remain in the big leagues.
"We're 50 games into it," Collins said. "All the kinks should be out by now."
Davis' woes throughout the first two months of this season have been well documented. Slumping since Opening Day, he saw his struggles deepen during a 1-for-42 stretch earlier this month, which included 18 strikeouts and several puzzling lapses on defense. Before chasing Yankees starter David Phelps with a two-run single to left in Wednesday's five-run first inning, Davis recovered slightly last weekend, coming up with the game-winning single against the Braves on Sunday. He went 0-for-6 with five strikeouts over his next two games, however.
Though not slumping quite as badly at the plate, Tejada entered Wednesday's play in an 0-for-12 funk, which he snapped with a leadoff single at Yankee Stadium. More troubling have been his lapses in other aspects of the game, including a pickoff at second base on Tuesday and a miscommunication with Daniel Murphy on a ground ball up the middle. Such issues are particularly disconcerting given Tejada's reputation as an instinctual player.
Collins, for his part, believes both players' issues may be mental.
"Any time you're struggling, it's going to affect your mind," the manager said. "It has to. You're human beings. It's human nature. You start searching for the answers. The only answer is you've got to get comfortable in the batter's box, keep your head down and see the baseball. You can work on the mechanics side in the batting cage and everything else, but once you get in that batter's box, it's got to be, 'See the ball, hit the ball.' If you start worrying about where your hands are, where your feet are, you're not going to concentrate on the pitch."
And so the Mets will keep a close eye on both Davis and Tejada the next two days at Yankee Stadium, where both men will quite literally be playing for their jobs.
Should the Mets demote Davis, Triple-A first baseman Josh Satin would be the logical candidate to take his place. To replace Tejada, the Mets could call up Omar Quintanilla, who nearly made the Opening Day roster and has been enjoying a hot streak at Las Vegas since. Justin Turner, who already has a job on the big league bench, is also capable of filling in at both positions.
• The extra color in the Mets' clubhouse these days is thanks to public-relations guru Jay Horwitz, who has been forced by clubhouse staff to replace his usual dress shoes with a pair of blue-and-orange sneakers. The sneakers became a good-luck charm for the Mets several years ago, when Horwitz wore them during a five-game winning streak. So far this year? The Mets are 3-0.
• Matt Harvey's 10-strikeout night on Tuesday marked his third double-digit strikeout game of the season and his fifth in 21 career starts. The only Mets pitcher with more in his first 21 outings was Dwight Gooden (eight), who was in attendance for Harvey's latest masterpiece.