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Posted 24 Jul 2001   For week ended July 20, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 20Jul01

By Mark Wright

RM Looking For Major League Baseball Career

ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA -- Mike Tejada is yet another promising young LDS baseball player struggling to make it the big leagues. Tejada, who spent his childhood in Kahuku, Hawaii, was a high school baseball standout before attending Brigham Young University where he had a standout freshman year. Tejada hit .347 with six home runs and 30 runs batted in for the Cougars as a switch-hitting catcher. After his successful inaugural college season, Tejada made the difficult decision to leave baseball for two years and serve a mission in Pittsburgh, PA for the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints. Then, after returning from his mission last year, Tejada decided not to return to BYU but turned pro instead. Tejada was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 27th round in 1999 and spent most of the first part of the 2000 season in extended spring training in Tucson, AZ.

Now playing for the Single A Asheville Tourists in the Rockies minor league farm system, Tejada hopes to move up soon. Although he had a rough time the last part of June when he went 1-for-25 in eight games, Tejada's most recent outings have been yielding better results. Last Wednesday, for example, Tejada had a terrific performance when he accounted for 5 of his team's 6 runs in a win over the Capital City Bombers. Tejada hit two homers as the Tourists have now won 10 of their last 14 games and successfully reclaimed 1st place in their division, just edging past the second place Bombers.

Tejada also hopes that his ability to hit from either side of the plate will help him make a move to the majors. "I've had more at-bats left-handed throughout my career," said Tejada, who was the designated hitter for the game against the Bombers. "In high school, I didn't face a lot of lefties, and my one year in college I didn't see too many. But I'm working on it." Like most other competitive athletes who take a hiatus to serve a mission, Tejada had a little trouble get back into the swing of things, but thinks he sees the light at the end of the tunnel. "Last year was a tough year for me, being my first year back from my mission," said Tejada, "but this year, I've been a lot more confident. I'm getting more comfortable." If Tejada can settle in against the rest of the league the way he has against the Bombers, where he is 12-for-25 with five home runs and 12 RBIs, he should be moving up very soon.


Tejada's homers bomb Capital City
Asheville NC Citizen-Times 19Jul01 S2
By Mike Benzie: Staff Writer


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