Tebow went 2 for 3 and made another airborne catch against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium on Wednesday, his second game in three days for the New York Mets against Miami. Tebow picked up his first spring hit — and made a diving catch — on Monday in Port St. Lucie vs. the Marlins.
Against the Marlins, Tebow is 3 for 6. Against all other teams, Tebow is 0 for 8.
“I think I’ve had fun every game, genuinely,” Tebow said. “But this one had a lot of action.”
Tebow singled in the second inning Wednesday against lefty Justin Nicolino on a ball booted by third baseman Derek Dietrich but ruled a hit. The pro-Mets crowd at Roger Dean greeted it with a loud cheer.
Tebow singled again in the fifth, this time off of right-hander Stephen Fife, on a line drive to center. In the bottom of the inning, he made leaping catch at the warning track in right field to take a potential hit away from J.T. Realmuto.
“The wind was blowing extremely hard to the corner, so you knew it was going to carry a little bit farther,” Tebow said. “Just trying to get as good of a jump on it as possible. Try to extend and get it at the end.”
For Nicolino, Tebow is just “another player.”
“I know he’s Tim Tebow and whatnot, he had a great career in the football aspect,” Nicolino said. “I think the biggest thing is it’s kind of nice to see him out there competing, giving everything he has to offer.
“When he stepped up, obviously I heard the crowd. But to me, I saw him as another hitter, a guy who is trying to take me out of the game.”
Tebow, a former University of Florida and NFL quarterback in minor league camp after signing with the Mets last summer, has been playing Grapefruit League games with the big league team the past two weeks.
It’s normal for teams to call up players from the minor league side for a given game, usually to serve as late-inning replacements or mid-inning relief (so a major league pitcher can start with a clean frame).
It’s less normal for teams to play a minor league guy five games in eight days, as Tebow has.
The Mets have said giving Tebow a shot at baseball is not a publicity stunt. So why give Tebow specifically, and not any other minor league outfielders, those extra reps in major league games?
“The other guys are 18. He’s not. I think if there’s anybody he needs to make a fast jump, it’d be somebody in his category,” Mets manager Terry Collins said Monday. “When you talk to him about his experiences, it’s about hey look, you pick your game up when you play against better competition. I’m hoping that helps him get out of the gate, that when he starts the season, that he’s faced a little bit better competition and … he can slow the game down when he needs to.
“I don’t know if it’s going to work. It’s something I thought I would try, and I checked with everybody and nobody had an issue with it so I’m going to bring him over a few times.”
Tebow is taking it as it comes.
“I’m still figuring out a lot of stuff every day,” Tebow said. “So much of it is still new, and so it’s still a process every day of figuring out OK this is how I want this to go, this is my routine here, this is how I’m going to do this. For me, it’s all still super new.”