PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — After playing in a pair of major-league spring training games this week, Tim Tebow was back with the Mets’ minor leaguers on Saturday.
It’s possible that Tebow never will face major-league competition again. The 29-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner went 0-for-7 with three strikeouts and a hit by pitch in games against the Red Sox (and AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello) on Wednesday and Astros on Friday.
The Mets could use Tebow in a major-league spring training game at any point before they break camp on March 29. But manager Terry Collins said on Friday that they have no plans “right now” to do so.
Instead, Tebow likely will play the rest of the month in minor-league spring training games before he is assigned to a minor-league team, possible low Class A Columbia, South Carolina, or high Class A St. Lucie.
Before embarking on his long shot quest to make the majors last fall, Tebow last played baseball in junior in high school. He is a 6-3, 255-pound lefthanded-hitting outfielder/DH.
Putting aside all the hype, all the snarky comments, and all of Tebow’s irrepressible enthusiasm and never-ending politeness, we asked a major-league scout who attended both of Tebow’s spring training games this week for his assessment.
“He’s brings a good energy to the game and you can tell he’s into it,” said the scout, who requested anonymity. “He has a good eye at the plate with power, but his swing is long, causing holes, especially on off-speed [stuff]. Defensively is where the long layoff since he last played shows the most because he needs to improve his reads and fluidity. The fans love him, though, which is great for baseball.”
Will Tebow ever make it to the majors? The odds are against him. But as Collins said, “He’s going to have to adapt quickly. What he’s attempting to do, not a lot of guys would even try it. I salute the fact that he’s giving it his best.”
And if it doesn’t work out, the Jets still need a quarterback.