NEW YORK -- What was supposed to be Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada's breakout summer wound up being anything but. Struggling all year with injuries and inconsistency, Tejada saw his season come to a gruesome end Wednesday night, when he broke his right leg in a collision with outfielder Andrew Brown.
Racing back to chase an Angel Pagan popup with one out in the ninth, Tejada caught the ball as Brown slid feet-first in an attempt to avoid him. He could not, and Tejada tumbled head over heels after colliding with Brown's leg, breaking his fibula on the play.
"It makes me feel really horrible, to be honest with you," Brown said. "It's the last thing I want to do."
Initially, Tejada told Mets trainers he was fine, staying in the game to finish the inning. But an examination in the bottom of the ninth revealed the break.
Tejada, who was receiving treatment on his leg, was unavailable for comment.
The injury comes just as Tejada had a chance to play every day, trying to salvage something out of what had otherwise been a lost season. Entering this year as the Mets' unchallenged starting shortstop, Tejada slumped so badly over the first two months of the season that the Mets seriously considered demoting him by late May.
Because Tejada strained his right quad while Mets officials debated his fate, the team never had to make that decision. He missed two months recovering, and Omar Quintanilla passed him on the depth chart. Though Tejada eventually grew healthy and productive in the Minors, the Mets did not recall him until Sept. 10. Part of the reason, general manager Sandy Alderson admitted recently, was because of a perceived lack of work ethic.
"One of the problems with Tejada is it's like pulling teeth," Alderson said on WFAN. "It's extra batting practice, extra this, extra that -- it doesn't happen, necessarily, unless someone else is insisting on it. We need to see a commitment to improvement. He's going to have to earn it."
Tejada was in the early stages of doing so when he broke his leg. Learning of his shortstop's injury while standing in the dugout, Collins turned to bench coach Bob Geren and said simply: "What else can there be? Of course it's going to be broken."
"We'll have to pick up the pieces," Collins said. "You feel bad for Ruben, because he had something to really prove here in the last couple weeks, and now he's not going to get that chance."
Collins estimated that Tejada will need six to eight weeks to heal, which should give him plenty of time to rehab over the winter. But without an opportunity to gain favor with the organization over the season's final two weeks, Tejada will enter Spring Training unsure of his future. He hit just .202 in 57 games this season, and the Mets are rumored to be interested in acquiring a shortstop from outside the organization.
It is a similar situation to that of first baseman Ike Davis, who began re-establishing himself as an everyday player after the All-Star break, only to suffer a season-ending oblique strain late last month. Like Davis, Tejada will be eligible for salary arbitration this winter.
"Now he's going to be out obviously six to eight weeks," Collin said, "and he's going to have to really work hard this winter to get himself back into good shape."
Collins isn't asking d'Arnaud to alter proximity to plate
NEW YORK -- Travis d'Arnaud cannot remember most of the foul tips and backswings that have clipped his catcher's gear in recent days. All he knows is that over the past week and a half, he has endured more sharp pains and bruises than he can ever recall in his life behind the plate.
"It's all just randomness, part of catching," d'Arnaud said Wednesday, one day after a foul tip careened off his right shoulder and knocked him out of a game against the Giants. D'Arnaud was out of the lineup again the following night, with Juan Centeno catching in his place. "Just luck of the draw I guess."
Manager Terry Collins does not consider it so random, saying d'Arnaud is more susceptible to backswings because of how close to the plate he sets up in his crouch. The upside of that setup, Collins said, is that d'Arnaud is better able to show off the pitch-framing skills for which he is rapidly becoming known.
"On the dark side of it, he's getting hit with some backswings," Collins said. "So you worry about it a little bit if there's some injuries that are going to occur, but right now, he's been fine with it."
Though d'Arnaud's brief career has already been derailed by several major injuries, including a foul tip that fractured a bone in his left foot earlier this season, Collins is not concerned with where his catcher sets up behind the plate.
"You're talking about inches," the manager said. "If a guy gets a lot of foul tips, he's too far back because the ball's going over his glove. If he's getting hit in the helmet with bats, you think he's too close. I talked to Travis about it and he said he's always been hit."
Harvey apologizes for interview on Dan Patrick Show
NEW YORK -- Described as "awkward" and "embarrassing" by national online media publications, Matt Harvey's phone interview Wednesday morning with the Dan Patrick Show, in which the Mets pitcher refused to talk about the possibility of Tommy John surgery, quickly became infamous enough for him to issue a Twitter apology.
"I've had a few rough outings on the mound, that was a rough outing on the radio this morning," Harvey tweeted. "Been an exhausting couple of days. Apologies to @dpshow and @Qualcomm."
The interview in question began harmlessly enough, with Patrick asking Harvey general questions about the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. In one answer, Harvey slipped in a reference to the telecommunications company Qualcomm, saying he wanted to "help them out as much as possible."
Patrick followed up with a question about whether the prospect of Tommy John surgery scared Harvey.
"I did all those answers yesterday, and maybe at the appropriate time we can talk a little bit more about that," Harvey replied, referring to his press conference at Citi Field. "Obviously today is about Qualcomm."
"You don't want to talk about this whole rehab and Tommy John?" Patrick asked.
"Well, I will," Harvey said. "We can set up another call if you'd like to about that subject. But today we're honoring and supporting Qualcomm."
Video of the interview caught fire across the internet, prompting Harvey to apologize several hours later.
• Right-hander Zack Wheeler may make two more starts this season, Mets manager Terry Collins said. Wheeler has thrown 168 2/3 innings between the Mets and Triple-A Las Vegas this season, 19 2/3 more than he did a year ago, and the Mets do not want him to exceed last year's total by much more than 30. Wheeler is next scheduled to pitch Monday in Cincinnati.
• Infielder Justin Turner is "still a few days away" from returning from a strained right hamstring, according to Collins. Turner has not appeared in a game since Sept. 10.
• Right-hander Frank Francisco was no longer sporting a heavy wrap around his right hand Wednesday as he had in previous days, though Collins said the reliever was still "a day or so off" from returning to game action. Francisco has not pitched since taking a line drive off his pitching hand last Saturday.