There are many things you can question about the New York Mets and their current roster, but the toughness of shortstop Ruben Tejada isn't one of the them.
During the ninth inning of New York's 5-4 come-from-behind victory over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night, Tejada suffered what was later learned to be a broken right fibula in a collision with left fielder Andrew Brown. However, the 24-year-old from Panama not only got back to his feet and walked away from the scene under his own power, but actually stayed in the game to finish the half inning.
For the love of Willis Reed, that Tejada is one tough kid.
From a drama perspective, a play-out-the-string baseball game in September doesn't compare to Reed's return from a torn muscle in his thigh for Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals. However, Tejada's willingness to play through pain is just as impressive. A broken fibula typically sidelines athletes in the neighborhood of six weeks, which obviously means Tejada's season is over. But it's remarkable that he wanted to stay on the field in what amounts to a meaningless game.
Here's how the freak injury occurred: Tejada was hustling, trying to run down Angel Pagan's pop-up into short left field and actually made the catch on the run, which was very impressive. Unfortunately, his right leg got tangled up between Brown's right leg and the turf.
At game speed it didn't appear to be a serious collision. However, on slow motion replay it was easy to spot where the break occurred.
No one felt worse about that result than Brown himself.
"I was trying to go down low like we're taught, go down and try to get out of the way," Brown said. "He caught my leg.
"It makes me feel really horrible, to be honest with you. It's the last thing I wanted to do."
The good news is this shouldn't be a career-altering injury for Tejada. Aside from setting back his offseason workouts a few weeks, he'll be ready to compete for a spot on the Mets 2014 roster in spring training. After Wednesday night, you can bet a lot more people will be rooting for him.