PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Tim Tebow plans to return to the New York Mets’ organization next season. But first, what will he do when the St. Lucie Mets’ minor league season ends Sunday? Is there any chance of more baseball in the Arizona Fall League or somewhere else for the rookie outfielder?
“It’s still something we’re figuring out, but for me it’ll be a lot of training,” he said Thursday. “For me it’ll be about working on training and building the muscle-memory where I can do it for two, five, seven days and continue to build a couple of weeks at a time.”
So, nothing definitive yet on whether the 30-year-old Tebow could get a September callup to the out-of-contention New York Mets.
A former quarterback for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets, Tebow entered Thursday with a .225 batting average, five homers and 28 RBIs in 59 games for the Class A St. Lucie Mets, who are in last place.
Tebow, who led Florida to a pair of college football titles and won the 2007 Heisman Trophy, considered his first professional baseball season a good learning experience.
“In looking back, there’s a lot of ups and downs, a lot of learning moments,” he said. “Almost every day there’s something that I’ve never been through before that I’m learning.”
Tebow started the season at Columbia in the South Atlantic League and hit .220 with three homers and 23 RBIs in 64 games. Promoted to the Florida State League in late June, he batted .317 over his first 25 games for St. Lucie. He had a 12-game hitting streak from July 2-14 but hit .161 in August, when he went through a 3-for-44 slump.
Overall, he was hitting .222 in 123 games.
“You definitely have to be day to day,” he said. “When you’re going through times that are really good, it can’t be based on the day before. Or when you’re going through tough times and not swinging the bat well for whatever reason, or the grind or whatever you’re working on, you have to be focused on the present and the now.”
An SEC Network analyst, Tebow also talked college football ahead of that season’s start this weekend. He said the long baseball season has prepared him for next year’s spring training.
“I think it will be easier from that standpoint, mentally, knowing what to expect,” he said. “As far as baseball goes, I think it will be a huge year for me.”
St. Lucie benefited from swelling attendance. It set its home season record on Aug. 4, topping the 2011 mark of 105,379. At 124,712, St. Lucie ranks third in the FSL. Many fans wore Tebow’s famous No. 15.
Tebow had three hits — including a home run — in his St. Lucie debut, a doubleheader against Palm Beach. He had hit a game-ending home run against Daytona on July 13.
“Those were definitely great moments, super fun and one of the best things about playing sports,” he said. “There are so many great things, but those moments are definitely a lot of fun.”