Ruben hoping to be more like Jose

Ruben Tejada stopped by Flushing today in good shape and good spirits, eager to get going for the season. He took batting practice at Citi Field and plans to report to Spring Training on Saturday, eight days early, which should please Terry Collins just fine.

tejadajoggingSpending the past week and a half working out on Long Island with a group of local big leaguers and prospects, Tejada spent time with Jose Reyes, who helped his former teammate tweak his baserunning technique. Though Tejada said he is willing to bat anywhere in the lineup this season, he hopes to lead off — and believes stealing more bases may be the ticket to doing so.

“We talked about everything,” Tejada said. “In practice, I tried to learn a lot about running the bases, stealing more bases.”

Leadoff or not, Tejada has no competition this spring for the starting shortstop job. The Mets hope only that he proves strong and well-conditioned enough to give them upwards of 150 games at the position.

Tejada hit .289 with a .333 on-base percentage in 114 games last season, missing significant time early in the year with a right quad strain. Still just 23, he has two career homers and 11 stolen bases in 1,132 plate appearances.

Unlike Reyes, Tejada does not possess elite foot speed. But scouts do laud his baseball instincts, which can be every bit as important as speed when it comes to stealing bases.

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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