Miguel Tejada back in Baltimore as a reserve infielder with Royals
Royals third baseman Miguel Tejada throws to first to get Adam Jones to end the third inning Tuesday night at Camden Yards. (Joy R. Absalon, USA TODAY Sports / May 7, 2013)
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“I’m excited, and not just because it is against my old team, but because I am playing,” said Tejada, who entered Tuesday hitting .313 (5-for-16) in a limited role. “I’m happy to come back here, to say hi to my old people and I’m happy with the way the team is playing, too.”
Tejada, 38, played with the Orioles from 2004 to 2007 and again in 2010. He attempted a comeback with the Orioles again last May — batting .259 in 36 games at Triple-A Norfolk — but was told he likely would not get a call to the big leagues, so he left the organization in June.
“I went to Triple-A to show everybody I was healthy,” said Tejada, who singled in his first at-bat Tuesday and also made a great tumbling stab and throw at third base. “It didn’t work out, but there are no hard feelings. I went home and spent time with my family.”
Tejada said he concentrated on working out — he lost 15 pounds — played winter ball in his native Dominican Republic, represented his country in the World Baseball Classic and then made the Royals out of spring training.
He is mainly a reserve — and a mentor — for the young Royals.
“I know my numbers aren’t the same numbers they used to be, but for now I have the ability and time to play [off] the bench and help the young kids be good baseball players.” Tejada said. “[Mentoring] is good for me. You saw it before here. I like to help everybody even when I was playing every day. Now I have got time to work with each of the young guys.”
Tejada — who was embroiled in a performance-enhancing drug controversy in his first go-around with the Orioles — has been tremendous with the more inexperienced Royals, Royals manager Ned Yost says.
“He still has all the energy and passion to play the game as he always had. He’s a great mentor to some of our younger Latin players,” Yost said. “I absolutely foresee him [coaching in the future]. He’s got that kind of ability; he’s got that kind of knack. … I think he’d be a great coach or great manager one day.”