PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- If nothing else, Tim Tebow kept his sense of humor -- not to mention his self-awareness.
Batting .056 with 11 strikeouts in 19 Grapefruit League plate appearances, Tebow took a good-natured tact when Mickey Callaway called him into the manager's office Tuesday afternoon to reassign him to Minor League camp.
"It's not like it's a shock," Tebow said, laughing. "They've been super honest the whole time. We've had great relationships and conversations, so it's not like I was like, 'Oh my gosh.' So it's all good."
Stopping short of calling it the cause of his struggles, the former NFL quarterback twice referenced the sprained ankle that briefly kept him out of drills last month. Still not fully healed, Tebow's ankle prevented him from appearing in the outfield during Grapefruit League play. Instead, he batted exclusively as a designated hitter during his first big league camp.
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"Unfortunately, I couldn't do as much as I wanted to with my ankle, which is kind of disappointing," said Tebow, who batted .226 with eight home runs last year in his first Minor League season. "But I got to put in a lot of good work, and feel like I'm improving. So that's good."
Although Tebow will no longer be in Major League camp, where he worked on his swing with hitting coaches Pat Roessler and Tom Slater, and even with outfielder Jay Bruce, the Mets likely haven't seen the last of him. They can still borrow Tebow from Minor League games over the final two weeks of camp, much as they did on multiple occasions last spring.
After that? General manager Sandy Alderson has hinted at an aggressive Minor League assignment for Tebow -- perhaps even Double-A Binghamton, which would put him two hops away from the Majors. Hesitant last year to say his endgame is to play in the Major Leagues, Tebow has since changed his tune.
"That's definitely the goal," Tebow said. "It's just putting in work every day, and hopefully one day you get that opportunity."
Tebow wasn't the only Met to spend time in Callaway's office Tuesday. The team also sent right-handed pitching prospects Gerson Bautista, Jamie Callahan, Marcos Molina, Corey Oswalt and Kevin McGowan to Minor League camp, trimming their total number of players to 51.
Bautista and Callahan were two of the pitchers the Mets acquired for Addison Reed last summer. Both hard throwers, they posted 6.35 and 6.75 ERAs this spring, respectively, and could play roles in the Mets' bullpen later this summer.
Originally scheduled to play left field on Tuesday, Yoenis Cespedes was a late scratch due to a sore right wrist. Cespedes said he first injured the wrist swinging his bat in a March 6 game against the Astros, but he played through it the next two days. The Mets knew Cespedes' wrist was sore when he took the field on Sunday, according to Callaway, but they didn't bench him until two days later.
"Ideally, he would have been playing today," Callaway said. "That's the only thing that I'm worried about. It would have been nice to have him playing today."
An X-ray taken Tuesday morning on the wrist came back negative; Cespedes is day to day.
Reliever Anthony Swarzak, who has not pitched since Feb. 27 due to a strained left calf, will throw a second simulated game Wednesday. The Mets hope he can return to Grapefruit League action by the weekend.
First baseman Dominic Smith remains sidelined indefinitely with a strained right quad, and he won't return until "it makes sense for Dom," according to Callaway. That should be "soon," though Callaway said similar things about Smith last week.
Asked when he expects to play, Smith said simply: "Your guess is as good as mine."
Vying for a role in the Mets' bullpen, left-hander Matt Purke allowed one run on a hit and a walk Tuesday. He owns a 2.25 ERA this spring.