PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Tim Tebow was 0-for-8 on the spring, but still receiving cheers on Monday, when he saw a Kyle Lobstein pitch that he liked. Shooting it through the hole between shortstop and third base, Tebow came away with a single and a souvenir ball, the first
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Tim Tebow was 0-for-8 on the spring, but still receiving cheers on Monday, when he saw a Kyle Lobstein pitch that he liked. Shooting it through the hole between shortstop and third base, Tebow came away with a single and a souvenir ball, the first Grapefruit League hit of his fledgling baseball career, in the Mets' 6-4 win over the Marlins.
Three innings earlier, Tebow ranged in to make a sliding catch in left field, robbing Marlins first baseman Justin Bour of a hit. While the former NFL quarterback's overall body of work may still be lacking, he has shown, through three Grapefruit League games, at least some improvement.
"Where it takes him," Mets manager Terry Collins said, "I can't answer."
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Though Collins was the one who said late this past week that he did not envision using Tebow in any more Grapefruit League games, he changed his tune early Monday morning. Collins said he suggested to general manager Sandy Alderson that the club, lacking outfielders due to the World Baseball Classic, borrow Tebow from Minor League camp instead of another prospect.
"The other guys are 18," Collins said. "He's not. I think if there's anybody who needs to make a fast job, it would be somebody in his category."
Alderson confirmed that he agreed, raising his voice when asked why the team chose Tebow over other outfielders in the system.
"Why shouldn't it be him?" Alderson said. "You're asking the question. We're not. Every time someone asks us the question, we're going to double down on it."
The Mets already have, promising Tebow additional Grapefruit League games this week. He will come with the Mets on their trip to West Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, though Tebow will not start that game. Beyond that, the Mets have committed to using Tebow on occasion, at least until Ty Kelly, T.J. Rivera and other players with outfield experience return from the Classic.
That means more at-bats, more outfield chances and more ovations.
Though Tebow's first hit was notable, raising his overall Grapefruit League output to 1-for-10 with four strikeouts, it was his sliding catch in left field that drew the most attention. Starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard called it proof of the former Heisman Trophy winner's athleticism, saying he gave Tebow "a big hug" in the dugout after the inning.
"He's a good person," Collins said. "People cheer for good people."
The Mets did not make Tebow available to comment on his day, citing his desire to fit in with his teammates, according to a team spokesman. But Tebow will be back nonetheless, drawing attention to his performance -- and fans to First Data Field.
"I understand all the hoopla of who he is and what he's done," Collins said. "He's handled himself tremendously in the clubhouse. The guys have taken to him. He wants to be just part of the guys."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.