PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Sandy Alderson vowed to be aggressive with Tim Tebow's development, and the Mets' general manager is sticking to his word. The team plans to announce next week that it will assign Tebow to Double-A Binghamton, according to a source, vaulting the former football star up
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Sandy Alderson vowed to be aggressive with Tim Tebow's development, and the Mets' general manager is sticking to his word. The team plans to announce next week that it will assign Tebow to Double-A Binghamton, according to a source, vaulting the former football star up the Minor League ladder despite a lack of on-field success.
Tebow, 30, hit just .056 in his first big league camp, though he spent most of it playing through a sprained left ankle.
"Unfortunately, I couldn't do as much as I wanted to with my ankle, which is kind of disappointing," Tebow said after the Mets demoted him to Minor League camp earlier this month. "But I got to put in a lot of good work, and feel like I'm improving. So that's good."
In his first professional season last summer, Tebow batted .226 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 126 games split between Class A Columbia and Class A Advanced St. Lucie. The Mets could have reassigned Tebow to St. Lucie to begin the year, but decided instead to send him to Binghamton, where he will face stiffer competition from more refined prospects.
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Tebow himself has refined his game since the Mets signed him to a Minor League deal in September 2016, working with hitting coach Pat Roessler, fellow Jacksonville native Daniel Murphy and others to transition to a sport he hadn't previously played since high school. In big league camp this year, Tebow showcased a more compact swing, as a well as a lighter, more athletic body.
It was enough for Alderson to say he expects Tebow to play in the Majors at some point.
"We've been pushing him," the GM said. "There is a finite period of time for this to work. His commitment to the game has been exceptional, so we're pushing him a little bit."
Strange scenes took place at First Data Field on Monday, when the Mets capped their spring with an intrasquad exhibition. Jacob deGrom shined with four strikeouts in three innings, though both he and Matt Harvey faced extra batters, pitching out of the stretch repeatedly as the Mets placed runners on base to manufacture defensive situations. Michael Conforto also homered, going deep against reliever Paul Sewald.
Afterward, both deGrom, who will pitch Game 2 of the season, and Harvey, who will start Game 4, declared themselves ready.
"I think we're all itching to get out of here and get things going," Harvey said. "It's been a good spring. We're all healthy and pushing for each other. It's going to be a fun year."
Injured Mets David Wright and Jason Vargas will both be in New York for Opening Day ceremonies, while Conforto, T.J. Rivera and Dominic Smith will stay behind for extended spring camp. Conforto and Vargas, who shouldn't need much extra time in Florida, will be eligible to return from the DL on April 7. But their actual return date will depend upon how they progress over the next week.
The Mets also announced that Rafael Montero will undergo Tommy John surgery Tuesday in New York, as expected. Montero will miss the entire 2018 season.
The Mets made an unexpected roster move on Tuesday, claiming outfielder Bryce Brentz off waivers from the Pirates. Brentz, 29, last appeared in the Majors in 2016. He slugged 31 home runs at Boston's Triple-A Pawtucket affiliate last season, but he hit just .250 with a .712 OPS in 40 spring at-bats, prompting the Pirates to designate him for assignment.
Multiple sources said the Mets do not have an additional trade in the works. Because Brentz is out of options, that means the Mets must either add him to their 25-man roster by Thursday, or try to pass him through waivers themselves. If they do that successfully, they could outright Brentz to Triple-A Las Vegas.
The Mets are off on Tuesday. They'll hold a mandatory workout Wednesday at Citi Field, in advance of Opening Day at 1:10 p.m. ET Thursday. Noah Syndergaard will start that game opposite Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.