12/30/08 9:48 PM EST
Tejada could join club in Dominican
Astros shortstop reportedly close to returning to Aguilas for playoffs
By Danny Wild / MLB.com
Tejada, a Bani, Dominican Republic native, told a local paper on Monday night that he's thinking of suiting up for the club as soon as Friday after it fell to 0-3 in the Dominican Winter League's Round Robin playoffs.
"It's painful for me to see the situation the team is in," Tejada told The Listin Diario during Monday's Licey-Aguilas game in Santo Domingo. "I hope, if at all possible, to do something to help my teammates."
Tejada flew from his Florida home to Santo Domingo and appeared in the Aguilas' dugout -- not in uniform -- before the club's game on Monday, telling the paper he couldn't stand to continue watching the team lose on television back home.
The move is being viewed as somewhat of a rescue effort by Tejada, one of the most popular players in the Dominican. The change of heart comes just over a month after he said he would not be playing this winter so he could focus on preparing for the upcoming season.
Tejada has spent time playing winter ball every year since 1995, although he's skipped the regular season in favor of joining the team for it's Caribbean Series run the past two years. The five-time All-Star and 2002 American League MVP joined the Aguilas for the Series in February and hit two clutch homers in the team's first game.
The Aguilas have won the last two Dominican Winter League championships and last won the Caribbean Series in 2007.
The team already features plenty of Major League talent -- Andruw Jones, Rafael Furcal, Melky Cabrera, Fausto Carmona, Johnny Cueto and Jhonny Peralta have all appeared for the Aguilas this winter.
The 34-year-old Tejada hit .283 with 13 homers and 66 RBIs in his first season with Houston in 2008, his least productive campaign since batting .233 with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs in 1998 with Oakland. He's hit .266 with 17 long balls and 124 RBIs in 212 games over 11 years with Aguilas.
Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.