Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow’s third season of professional baseball is over.
The 31-year-old outfielder playing for the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a deep cut on his left hand on July 21, a source told Newsday’s Tim Healey.
The source said that Tebow is expected to be back next season. He’s been rehabbing independently.
Tebow, whose National Football League career sputtered after starring at the University of Florida, had a disappointing season with the Syracuse Mets, batting .163 with four home runs in 239 at-bats before suffering a cut hand while attempting to make a catch in the outfield. The injury had left Tebow without a clear timetable to return, but the laceration has not healed to the point where he can come back.
“He’ll be out for as long as it takes to heal, get back on track,” Syracuse manager Tony DeFrancesco had told Syracuse.com after the injury. “It’s just kind of in an awkward spot between his index finger, his ring finger and pinkie.”
As with many celebrities, Tebow attracts a crowd. He rose to prominence during his dominant run as the Gators’ quarterback from 2007-09, famously leading Florida to a win in the 2008 BCS National Championship game against Oklahoma.
Since, Tebow has been a household name. From his outward devotion to faith to his polarizing career in the NFL — which featured improbable comeback victories but also prolonged struggles — Tebow has been a popular talking point.
Even after signing with the Mets in 2016, Tebow has remained a fixture on television as a college football analyst for ESPN.
He’s continued to attract spectators in Syracuse, even while on the injured list.
“Usually, it’s funny because you’ll go to the stadium and most people are there to see Tim,” Mets infielder Luis Guillorme said before Friday’s 7-6 Mets win over the Nationals at Citi Field. “Even now, he’s been hurt. He hasn’t been at the games, but you still hear fans saying, ‘We want Tebow.’ You’re trying to play a game and all you hear is people asking for a guy that, nothing against him, but he’s not there.”
Guillorme joked as he delivered the latter part of that statement, but the fanfare has been extreme — even though Tebow’s slash line hasn’t been particularly palatable.
“People love him,” Mets reliever Chris Mazza said. “You can just see. I mean, he’s a celebrity. For a lot of the fans coming to the game, a lot of times, it’s just to see him. It’s cool in that aspect because we get more fans.”
There’s a little added security around the team, Mazza said, because fans can’t seem to get enough of the former quarterback who played fullback and tight end for the Jets in 2012 when it became apparent that he couldn’t cut it as a professional signal-caller.
“We have more fans at the hotels trying to track him down,” Mazza said. “We always get the questions, like, ‘Hey, can you go get Tebow?’ I’m always like, ‘No, he’s getting ready for the game.’ ”
Mazza called Tebow “a really good dude, a really nice person,” but Tebow’s experiment as a professional baseball player hasn’t gone swimmingly. He managed to hit .273 with six home runs and 36 RBIs for Binghamton last season, but his campaign ended when he broke his right hand and he needed surgery.
The Mets bumped him to Triple-A, and the results haven’t been great. He was in the midst of his best month of the season when he cut his hand, but that only equated to a .205 average with two solo home runs in 44 at-bats.
TEBOW IN 2019
.163/.240/.255 Slash line