Spokane Indians shortstop Anderson Tejeda is a soft-spoken presence in the clubhouse.
But Tejeda doesn’t need to be outspoken to be heard. His bat does most of his talking.
Tejeda launched a solo home run over the 398-foot wall in straight-away center field in the first inning, giving him the team lead in home runs with six, in the Indians’ 8-0 win over Hillsboro on Tuesday at Avista Stadium.
“For a little guy, he’s got some sock,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said of Tejeda, who has three homers in the Indians’ last three games. “The ball really jumps off his bat and it’s pretty fun to watch him hit.”
For the casual observer, watching the 5-foot-11, 160-pound Tejeda belt baseballs over the fence is a spectacle. Even though people have doubted him because of his lack of size, Tejeda never lacked confidence as a power hitter.
“People always told me that I’m really skinny, I need to put on weight and I wouldn’t be able to make it,” Tejeda said through an interpreter. “But God gave me the ability to hit for power.”
A native of Bani, Dominican Republic, baseball was Tejeda’s main focus growing up. He said his mother always urged him to focus on his studies, but he felt more at peace on the diamond. So much so that Tejeda, who turned 18 years old in May, was signed by the Rangers in 2014.
Being signed at 16 , Tejeda was a work in progress, specifically with his defense. That was his main focus in the instructional leagues in Dominican Republic, working tirelessly with Jesus Ovalle and Alexis Infante on fine-tuning his glove work.
His hard work to improve in the field has paid off. Tejeda made a leaping catch in the sixth and a diving play up the middle to rob Hillsboro of hits.
“Defense is the thing I have to work on the most,” Tejeda said. “I’m working on it every single day to get better.”
While the highlight plays are impressive, Hulett said he’s been impressed with his attention to detail out on the field lately.
“I like the routine plays he made out there today. Those are the plays that sometimes he has a lapse in concentration and doesn’t look a ball in,” Hulett said. “But he’s been great the last two nights. Looks like he’s doing a better job of slowing the game down and looking the ball in. He’s an outstanding shortstop.”
The Indians added to Tejeda’s homer in a big way, scoring five runs in the sixth. Charles LeBlanc scored Leody Taveras on a shallow fly ball; Seth Spivey slugged a three-run home run over The Depot in left field; and Todd McDonald lined a single to center to score Chad Smith.
Smith pulled a home run to left in the eight, scoring Luis Terrero and pushing the lead to 8-0.
Sal Mendez (6-4) pitched seven scoreless innings, giving up five hits, striking out four and walking four. Tyler Mark (5-5) was handed the loss for Hillsboro.
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