JUPITER, Fla. — Since the offseason, Mets manager Terry Collins has been open about his intention to get Tim Tebow into Grapefruit League games. And that opportunity has arrived, with the former Heisman Trophy winner set to be the designated hitter tomorrow when the Mets host the Red Sox in a split-squad game.
“I don’t think he’s going to make our team,” Collins said, tongue in cheek, “but I think it’s great for the organization, it’s great for the fans. He’s a pretty famous guy. It will be fun to get him out there.”
Collins said Tebow could play the outfield on Friday, when the Mets are scheduled for another split-squad game.
Before signing a minor-league deal with the Mets in September, Tebow, 29, hadn’t played baseball since high school. He since has played in the Arizona Fall League and now is in minor-league camp.
Harvey’s pain in the neck
Matt Harvey thinks the reason he woke up with a stiff neck a few days back is that he slept awkwardly. It wasn’t a big deal, he insisted, certainly not enough to wipe out Sunday’s start, his first in a game since July 4. So Harvey applied kinesio tape to his neck and took the mound, even though Collins had offered him a chance to opt out.
“I really wanted to stay on task and on schedule,” said Harvey, who allowed four runs in 1 2⁄3 innings and had a fastball that lacked its typical velocity.
Harvey topped out at 94 mph, a few ticks off his average, but club officials dismissed concerns about those readings, insisting that he has thrown harder during side sessions.
One of them said some in the organization believe Harvey might have been dealing with more neck pain than he had acknowledged during his first appearance since undergoing season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.
For now, Harvey is lined up to pitch again Friday. His neck remains stiff and he’s taking muscle relaxers to help the symptoms.
“It’s a little tight,” Harvey said. “But it’s getting better.”
Cespedes takes it easy
Yoenis Cespedes participated in a light workout before departing early because of lingering hip and quadriceps soreness. A quadriceps injury hampered Cespedes during much of the second half last season, but the Mets insisted that his latest issue is not serious. He did not undergo an MRI . . . Lucas Duda is feeling the effects of the flu.
With David Lennon