The 2007 Heisman Trophy victor was told Monday that he will be assigned to the Columbia Fireflies, the Mets' affiliate in the South Atlantic League.
The 29-year-old is hitting.235 - four hits in 17 at-bats - in seven games for the Mets in spring training entering Monday's Grapefruit League exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers, where he was expected to start in leftfield. He batted.194 in the AFL while competing against some of the game's top prospects. Tebow has taken a ton of criticism from scouts who feel he has no business playing professional baseball, and Alderson acknowledged even low Class-A could be a challenge. Tebow's journey through the minor leagues begins on April 6 at home against the Augusta GreenJackets. That's obviously great news for the Fireflies - they now boast high-profile former National Football League quarterback on their roster whom they can promote to draw fans to their games. Steve Spurrier did it, and now it looks as if Tim Tebow is following the same path - on the baseball diamond. "We expect this to add to the energy at Spirit Communications Park and around downtown Columbia, especially during our opening weekend". "We've got lots of room for lots of players at lots of different levels".
Katz is at the Mets' spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida, this week and plans to meet with Tebow likely tomorrow.
"No one works harder than Tim did this spring", Mets manager Terry Collins told Newsday on Monday. He said he doesn't need to make it to the major leagues, as long as he's having fun and learning every day, but he does want to improve. Later in the fall, he played in 19 contests in the Arizona Fall League. The Mets have been playing him in the outfield.
"We were concerned that it might be a stretch at some point, or could be a stretch", the GM said. The fact that he's starting at Columbia, he's really not taking anybody's spot.