With Miguel Tejada moving to a new position, manager Dave Trembley must decide whether to give him more starts this spring than what he’d normally schedule for a veteran player.
“I’m not sure yet,” Trembley said. “I know he’s going to have to get game time at third, but I think you’re going to have to balance it with being practical and realize that he’s a veteran player and an older guy. These games don’t count. You want him ready for the season.
“What I probably will do for the first seven to 10 days here is go along with him as I would with any of the other players that are going to be regulars on this club. Try to stay away as best I can from playing guys in back-to-back games early. After that, start playing guys more innings and working into playing back-to-back games so at the end of camp, guys have played three in a row and are up to nine innings.
“What you’ll see with a guy like Tejada, I think there’s a lot to be said for what he can get out of practicing alongside (Cesar) Izturis and with Juan (Samuel) on the half-field or the regular fields, either early or late. But I would agree with you that he does need the time in the games.”
Trembley wants to start Tejada and Izturis in the same exhibition games so they can get comfortable with each other, and keep them back at the complex on certain road trips to continue working together.
“The more times I can play them together in the spring, I think the better,” Trembley said.
One of the biggest changes this spring has been the inclusion of base running drills, bunting and situational hitting in the early days of camp. Last spring, Trembley implemented them toward the end.
“Those areas need to be emphasized as important, so we put those things in at the beginning of camp,” Trembley said.
“These guys are very sharp. They know why they’re doing it. They understand it. The lines of communication have been adequately put out there. We need to do some things better, we need to step it up somewhat, we need to improve in certain areas. But if you look at when we’ve done those drills, who’s the guy who’s leading them?”
“Thank you. You noticed it, too,” he said.
“We have guys that are leading. Tejada wants to win. We have guys who feel they have a chance to win. That’s why I haven’t had a problem with guys bucking the system.
“Let’s say what it was. It wasn’t very good before. You guys all knew that. You don’t cover for it. It wasn’t very good. My fault. There aren’t going to be any excuses this time.
“Guys know why they’re practicing. We’ve got to get better, we’ve got to turn the corner, step it up. No excuses. Go get it.
“It sure helps, too, when you’ve got the facilities to do it. It sure helps when you don’t have fields chalked off in the outfield. It sure helps when guys look like they’re happy and they’re comfortable and it’s a fun place to come. Got some space. It’s the big leagues. Let’s go.”