Mets' Tim Tebow during a spring training game against the Braves at...

Mets' Tim Tebow during a spring training game against the Braves at First Data Field on Feb. 23 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — On the wrong end of two noteworthy defensive plays in the first inning alone on Sunday, Tim Tebow said he has gotten better at dealing with the seemingly random game-of-inches aspects of baseball.

“It’s part of the mental toughness,” said Tebow, who is 0-for-4 with two lineouts in two games.

In the top of the first in the Mets’ exhibition game against the Astros, Tebow chased a fly ball into foul territory in leftfield. He dived into the Mets’ bullpen area and initially appeared to catch it, but it was ruled a drop.

“I totally had it,” Tebow said. “Somehow, in my tumbling of hitting whatever I hit — the bleachers slash chairs and stuff — it came out. I looked in my glove first and it wasn’t there. I wanted it, too. I paid the price. I may as well come away with a catch.”

In the bottom of the first, Tebow smacked a pitch deep to left-centerfield, a would-be extra-base hit and RBI. But the Astros’ speedy centerfielder, Myles Straw, laid out for the full-extension catch. (Last season, Straw stole 70 bases in 79 tries in the upper minors.)

“I thought I got it pretty good,” Tebow said. “The wind being different today probably affected it and slowed it down a little bit. The good thing is in spring training — obviously you want hits and doubles and to get it out, but more importantly, it’s your at-bats and trying to focus and improve. It takes away a little bit of the frustration from that.”

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