03/14/09 2:25 PM ET
Tejada returns after Classic letdown
Shortstop disappointed in Dominican Republic's showing
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
But Tejada was also tardy by a couple of hours when it was finally time to rejoin his Astros teammates in Kissimmee. Tejada, whose year-round home is near Fort Lauderdale, said he got lost on his way to Osceola County Stadium, which apparently delayed his arrival to the clubhouse by about two hours.
Tejada expressed both disappointment with the Dominican team's performance and worry about the Astros' spring record, which entering Saturday's split-squad games was 1-11-2 over 14 games.
First, the Classic.
"I'm glad I was there, glad that I did what I did," Tejada said. "I wish we did better so the team could go to the next round, so it was hard. It was hard because my country really identifies with the baseball players. It's hard for the country to lose in the first round like this. I'm really sorry for all the people in my country."
Tejada shook off the notion that the Dominican team took the Netherlands for granted and perhaps did not prepare well enough for what turned out to be a challenging opponent.
"I don't think so," he said. "We all were prepared. We all were professional and we want to win. Everybody just played hard, we just didn't get the big hit. We didn't get the walk, we didn't make the plays that should have been made. We just have to give credit to those guys, they played good baseball, they had a lot of energy and that's why they won."
Tejada, who had three hits in 11 at-bats during the Classic, paid attention to how the Astros were doing back on the home front and admitted it was hard not to notice how rapidly the losses were piling up on his Houston teammates.
"I watched ESPN every day and called one of the guys and said, 'What's going on?'" Tejada said. "He just said, 'It's not very good around here.' Now I'm back, Carlos [Lee] is back, Roy [Oswalt] will be back when the Classic ends. We're going to be all together and we have to start working together and pulling everything together again."
Tejada also said he was anxious to play shortstop again after a long layoff from his natural position. With Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez in front of him on the Dominican depth chart, Tejada filled in at third base and also served as a DH in the Classic.
Upon his return, however, he was back in familiar territory, starting at short for the Astros' game with the Phillies.
"I'm pretty anxious to be back to playing my regular position," he said, adding that he envisions better results for the Astros in the final weeks of the spring season.
"This is Spring Training, everybody's back and we'll start working together, the way we would normally," he said. "I worry, everybody should worry. We should start winning some games. That's what we're supposed to do."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.