Tejada Avoids Talk Of Trade Rumors
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
BALTIMORE, June 27 -- Miguel Tejada appeared briefly in the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse Tuesday afternoon at 3:45, but he did not stay there for long. He chatted with an attendant and left for the trainer's room, which served as a sanctuary from the throng of reporters, including an ESPN camera crew, who wanted to speak with him.
Tejada declined to react to a story in Monday's Washington Post about the possibility of the Orioles trading Tejada and about his behavior, including being fined for showing up late for games. The story provoked questions about Tejada's demeanor, his status with the Orioles and his relationship with the organization.
Though Tejada did not comment, Orioles Manager Sam Perlozzo defended his best player and claimed his shortstop is still both a productive player and a happy member of Baltimore's clubhouse.
"He said he's happy," Perlozzo said before Tuesday's game was postponed. "As far as I know, [Orioles Vice President] Jim Duquette talked to him just the other day and said that he did not want to go anywhere. He wanted to be here. I haven't heard Miggy say anything other than that, quite honestly.
"This stuff about trades and stuff, there isn't a team out there that hasn't gotten a call about all their players."
On the subject of whether Tejada had paid his fines for tardy arrivals at the ballpark, Perlozzo said he had indeed paid them. "I have them," he said. "Go in my desk, it's in there."
Tejada, who is hitting .312 this season with 16 home runs and 54 RBI, has endured plenty of controversy over the past year. When Major League Baseball suspended Rafael Palmeiro for steroid use last season, Tejada became embroiled in the saga when Palmeiro told the House Government Reform Committee in its ensuing perjury investigation that Tejada had given him shots of vitamin B-12 in the locker room. This offseason, Tejada said he wanted to play for a winner and entered a trade demand, which he later rescinded.
This season, the subject of performance-enhancing drugs hit close to home again when an affidavit of former Oriole Jason Grimsley became public fodder. The affidavit is said to name names (which have been redacted) of several former teammates of Grimsley's who allegedly used performance enhancers.
Since the Grimsley affidavit surfaced publicly June 7, Tejada is hitting .236.
"It would affect me," teammate and close friend Melvin Mora said of the seemingly constant clouds swirling around Tejada. "I don't know about him. That's something you would have to ask him. It affects me when somebody talks bad about me."
Personally, Mora also said he feels for his friend.
"It affects everybody," Mora said. "Miggy is one of the best guys we have in the clubhouse."
In general, the Orioles said the latest chapter in Tejada's rocky year won't be an on-field issue or distraction.
"I was in the training room, so I hadn't even heard about it," Orioles first baseman Jeff Conine said.
When a reporter asked Perlozzo about Tejada's apparent soured demeanor and his not running out all ground balls, Perlozzo insisted he's happy with Tejada's effort and pointed to sore knees as an explanation.
"He still gets work on his knee," Perlozzo said. "There's times when what people perceive as lack of hustle is protection of his knee. I doubt that it's 100 percent yet.
"You know, we got this guy here to be our RBI guy, and he's leading the team in RBI. He's done what he's supposed to be doing. When he comes in the dugout, there's nobody more disappointed when they make an out than him. What you perceive to see out on the field is not really going on.
"Miggy, he's a jovial kind of guy. You can't expect somebody to be jovial all the time. Especially when he expects to get a hit and doesn't get a hit, you can't expect the guy to be all rah-rah. Nobody does that. He's taken on a big responsibility on this ballclub, and I feel like he feels like he should do something good all the time."