Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tejada Added to Mix at Shortstop for Cards

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tejada Added to Mix at Shortstop for Cards

Article excerpt

JUPITER, Fla. * Veteran second baseman Jedd Gyorko and promising Aledmys Diaz have been taking most of the reps at shortstop for the Cardinals the last couple of weeks as incumbent Jhonny Peralta recovers from left thumb surgery. Now, former New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada, released by that club, has been added to the mix, in which he might turn out to be the main ingredient.

In short order Saturday, Tejada, fresh from a trip to Disney World with family and friends the day before, took a physical and agreed to a $1.5 million, one-year contract with no incentives.

Tejada would have been due $3 million this year but the Mets, who have several shortstops, including free-agent signee Asdrubal Cabrera, had to pay him only 30 days' worth, or $500,000 by releasing him by Wednesday. So, Tejada actually will be making $2 million overall this year.

The 26-year-old Panamanian hit .261 with three homers last year for New York but his season ended in the division series when he suffered a broken right fibula when slid into hard by Los Angeles' Chase Utley. But Tejada said Saturday he felt "completely healthy" after just five to six weeks into the off-season.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, who had preferred not to give up a player in a trade to get Tejada, said, "Most of you (media) anticipated we would go down this path. Having somebody like Ruben Tejada made sense from a depth standpoint. We don't exactly know what opening day or the opening month will look like yet but, obviously, we feel better about where we are from a defensive standpoint today than we were yesterday."

After Peralta was hurt two weeks ago, Mozeliak said he had contacted the Mets to inquire about his availability. "But, rather than try to make a deal, we decided to go the patient route to see if he was going to be released," Mozeliak said.

Tejada, who said he had talked to four or five teams before signing with the Cardinals, is a .255 lifetime hitter with 16 homers in 1,929 at-bats. He is considered a better defensive option than Gyorko although not considered an outstanding defender.

Diaz, who has made strides in the last year or so, may or may not be ready to start the season in the majors but the Cardinals would have coverage if they wanted to send him to Class AAA Memphis. …

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