PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Tim Tebow and Mickey Mantle now have something in common.
The former Heisman winner got tripped up by a sprinkler head in the outfield this past week, suffering a sprained left ankle in the process.
Tebow was among four Mets listed on the team’s injury report Sunday, but his situation was nowhere near as serious as Mantle’s. He suffered a major knee injury in the 1951 World Series when he caught his spikes in a drainage cover in the outfield.
Despite making the list, Tebow participated in Sunday’s morning practice with his ankle taped up and looked fine while launching long home runs over the rightfield fence during batting practice. Still, the Mets planned to send him for a precautionary X-ray exam. If it comes back negative, as the team expects, Tebow could make his Grapefruit League debut Monday as the DH against the Astros (and Justin Verlander) in West Palm Beach.
Thor on tap
The schedule may say Grapefruit League, but Noah Syndergaard won’t be holding back any heat for Monday’s spring training debut at The Ballpark at the Palm Beaches.
“Probably not,” Syndergaard said. “My main thing will be to go out there and attack hitters with my fastball. I’m not worrying about my breaking balls just yet.”
As Mickey Callaway noted the other day, Syndergaard is not a guy who tends to do anything at half speed. But without a hiccup so far in his preparation, there’s no reason to fret about Syndergaard letting it fly early. Under the tutelage of new pitching coach Dave Eiland, he says he’s “feeling great” about his current routine and mindset on the mound.
For all the discussion about keeping himself in check, Syndergaard emphasized that won’t mean getting any less of the full-out Thor effect.
“That’s about having more control of my mechanics,” Syndergaard said, “and being more aware of what my body’s doing.”
Syndergaard’s last start was Sept. 24, which came after he missed five months with a torn right lat muscle. He threw only five pitches in a scoreless first inning, reaching his customary 99 mph.
Robert Gsellman, who found himself in general manager Sandy Alderson’s doghouse last season, might be ready to move out soon after striking out two in two scoreless innings in the Mets’ 10-3 win over the Marlins on Sunday. Gsellman credited an offseason regimen with his physical therapist to improve his delivery — knowing his trigger points, to be exact — and that has helped restore the sinking action on his pitches, turning back the clock to the ’16 version of himself. “I’m getting there,” Gsellman said . . . Jeurys Familia used his inning Sunday to work more on his split-fingered fastball, a pitch he had shied away from. Familia had a 4.70 ERA in 15 games after returning from a blood clot last season, but he’s in peak condition now. “I feel 100 percent,” he said.