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Tebow's St. Lucie debut pushed back by rain

Former quarterback grateful for opportunity with Mets' Class A Advanced affiliate
Special to MLB.com

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Tebowmania will have to wait one more day.

Tim Tebow's first game with the St. Lucie Mets -- New York's Class A Advanced affiliate in the Florida State League -- was postponed Tuesday due to rain. The game will be made up as a doubleheader Wednesday, with St. Lucie and the Palm Beach Cardinals playing a pair of seven-inning contests.

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Tebowmania will have to wait one more day.

Tim Tebow's first game with the St. Lucie Mets -- New York's Class A Advanced affiliate in the Florida State League -- was postponed Tuesday due to rain. The game will be made up as a doubleheader Wednesday, with St. Lucie and the Palm Beach Cardinals playing a pair of seven-inning contests.

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First pitch for the opening game is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET at First Data Field.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity, and it's always great to be in Florida," said the former Florida Gators quarterback and 2007 Heisman Trophy winner earlier in the afternoon.

Tebow was to play left field and bat eighth against Palm Beach right-hander Connor Jones, a 2016 second-round Draft pick from the University of Virginia. Jones is 4-4 with a 4.56 ERA, with left-handers hitting .242 against him.

Tebow was promoted to St. Lucie Sunday after going 0-for-2 in Class A Columbia's 2-1 home loss to Kannapolis, which dropped the lefty hitter's average to .220 over 64 games.

Video: Alderson discusses Tebow's promotion to High-A

"I'm looking forward to this opportunity tonight and making the most of it," Tebow, whose promotion Sunday spread virally across social media, said before Tuesday's rainout. "I also understand I have a long way to go and just try to get better every day,"

Excited fans queued up in lines 30 yards long while waiting for the gates to open at 5:30 Tuesday. T-shirts bearing "Tebow" and his No. 15 were for sale on the concourse under tents.

However, it started pouring at 6, consuming the field and forcing the game's postponement at a complex that Tebow knows well.

Tebow, 29, blasted an opposite-field homer on the first pitch he saw as a pro in an instructional league game on Sept. 28. Against the Marlins in a Spring Training game at First Data Field in March, Tebow recorded his first hit for the New York Mets, lining a single to left field off Kyle Lobstein after eight hitless at-bats.

Video: Tebow homers on first instructional league pitch

Tebow faced tough competition in Spring Training, including reigning Cy Young Award winners Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer, but he said it was good to be back in a place where he was familiar.

"I think just being able to get some at-bats on this field, that always helps a little bit," he said. "To understand the background, to know where I'm playing, to know the fences a little bit, to have played on it a couple times ... I think that gives you some comfort, sure."

Tebow's best week for Columbia was in an 11-for-27 hot streak over eight games from April 21-28. He boosted his average from .156 to .250 and had three doubles and a triple.

"It's been a little bit of a whirlwind in less than a year," Tebow said. "But at the same time, I'm not really someone who stops to think about the 'what ifs' or 'what happened.' I try to compartmentalize and focus on the task at hand and the day-to-day. I just focus on the next thing."

Bill Whitehead is a contributor to MLB.com based in Florida.

New York Mets