Orioles third base coach Juan Samuel might have paid Miguel Tejada the ultimate compliment earlier today.
“He took all the ground balls,” Samuel said, “and I told him, ‘Hey man, you look like a third baseman already.’”
That’s probably more than you could expect on Tejada’s first day.
“The ball’s going to get to him a little bit quicker there than it is at shortstop,” Samuel said. “At shortstop, you’ve got a clear view of the catcher. You see the pitch. You’ve just got to be ready at all times and anticipate balls hit to him there. The ball’s going to get on him a little quicker there, but we’ve just got to get him some extra work as much as possible.”
Tejada was launching balls over the outfield fence during batting practice. It was quite a display.
“He looked good,” Samuel said. “His swing is there. We know he can hit.”
Tejada said he felt good on the field and inside the clubhouse.
“It’s the first day with the team, but I’m feeling comfortable,” he said. “Since I signed I’ve been working out at third base, and today was real exciting. I’m like a little kid with a new toy. I’m enjoying today.”
Tejada said he practiced fielding bunts as part of his daily workouts before reporting to camp.
“I think that’s the hardest play for any third baseman in baseball, going forward for the ball with your bare hand,” he said. “But I’m going to have a month-and-a-half here at spring training to make mistakes before we get to the season.”
The Orioles are in a new spring home, but the place looks familiar to Tejada as he exchanges hugs with Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis.
“That’s why I’m feeling comfortable. I feel like I’m home,” he said.
“I don’t feel like I’m on a new team. It’s only been two years since I left here and most of those guys are still here.”
I’ll have more from Tejada later in the day, including his thoughts on getting a fresh start with his old team following the various controversies that hounded him.
“Now my mind is clear,” he said.
So is my screen. Time to fill it up again.