Padres get Tejada from O's
SAN DIEGO -- Miguel Tejada is coming to San Diego, and his new teammates can't wait to get him in the lineup.
The NL West-leading Padres obtained the 36-year-old Tejada and more than $1.15 million from the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, convinced that he can help them in the infield and at the plate.
The Padres gave up Double-A right-hander Wynn Pelzer to get Tejada, who is expected to be in uniform on Friday night for a series opener against Florida.
"It's a good chance at being in the playoffs and that's always good," Tejada said in Kansas City, where he was scratched from the Orioles lineup before Thursday night's game against the Royals. "I think we can have a chance to win."
Tejada, the 2002 AL MVP, hasn't been to the playoffs since the Oakland A's made four straight appearances from 2000 to 2003, losing in the divisional round each year. The Padres are trying to win their first division title since winning consecutive championships in 2005-06.
Getting Tejada added to the buzz of beating the rival Los Angeles Dodgers for the second time in less than 24 hours.
"He's about winning. I know that firsthand," said infielder Jerry Hairston Jr., who played with Tejada in Baltimore in 2004. "Whatever he can do to help a ballclub, he's all for that. I'm one of the most excited guys to get him, because I know how he is. He is the perfect guy for this clubhouse. He's not overbearing. He's going to be great for these young guys. One of the best leaders I've ever been around.
"If you look at our lineup now, it's starting to shape out a little bit. We're excited. We really are," Hairston said.
Mark Loretta, a special assistant in the front office, was Tejada's teammate with Houston in 2008.
"He's a threat," Loretta said. "He's not the MVP guy that he once was, but I think he'll be good for morale. It seems like guys are excited, which is part of the plan, too, to reward the team for doing what they've done."
Loretta said Tejada was one of the best teammates he ever had.
I'm one of the most excited guys to get him, because I know how he is. He is the perfect guy for this clubhouse. He's not overbearing. He's going to be great for these young guys. One of the best leaders I've ever been around.” -- Padres outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr. on addition of Miguel Tejada
"He's just a fun guy to be around," Loretta said. "He really pulled for his teammates, kind of one of those guys that people are drawn to. Funny, plays every day, plays hurt. He's a gamer."
First-year general manager Jed Hoyer envisions Tejada playing some at third base, where Chase Headley has struggled against left-handed pitching, and at shortstop, as well as coming off the bench.
He has appeared in 93 games in the field this season, all at third base, after having played shortstop in each of his previous 1,846 games.
"My role is always to be an infielder. I think they know what I can do," Tejada said.
Manager Bud Black said the Padres will even talk about using Tejada in left field. Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said Tejada mentioned during an interleague series in June that he had played left field some during winter ball.
Black said Tejada's first start will probably be at shortstop. The Padres will have to make a corresponding move to get Tejada on the roster. One possibility would be to demote shortstop Everth Cabrera, whose average has dipped to .199.
"He'll move around for us," Hoyer said. "Part of our strength this year is having a good 25-man roster, not just having a good starting lineup. I think he'll play a lot, but it will be in different spots. It makes us better."
Tejada is hitting .269 with seven homers and 39 RBIs, down from the .313 he hit with Houston last year.
"I think he still has a lot to bring. He's still a tough out," Hoyer said. "We're hoping that getting him in a pennant race and getting him on a winning team can energize him."
"From what I hear about this guy, he plays with a great deal of passion and energy," Black said, "and I think coming to a situation where we are, and what our final couple of months mean, it can only excite a player."
In 18 interleague games this year, Tejada hit .346 with one homer, eight RBIs and 10 runs scored.
Tejada said it was "an honor to go to play where they want me. But I'm sad because I've loved being here. I've been here a long time and it's like my home. I love being here with these guys. I'm sad but I know this game is a business."
Tejada signed a $72 million, six-year contract with the Orioles in December 2003, playing in Baltimore until being traded to Houston in December 2007 for five players.
A six-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Tejada rejoined the Orioles in January, signing a $6 million, one-year contract.
San Diego will pay $1 million of the $2,163,934 remaining in Tejada's salary. The Padres also will pay the $150,000 assignment bonus Tejada's contract required in the event of a trade.
To fill Tejada's roster spot, the Orioles recalled third baseman Josh Bell from Triple-A Norfolk.
Pelzer was San Diego's ninth-round pick in the 2007 amateur draft. He was 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA at San Antonio this season, and has gone 26-23 with a 3.83 ERA in parts of three seasons.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press