Ubaldo Jimenez chose strikeouts over medicine

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports wrote a great article about Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez, whose working-class family in the Dominican Republic made him turn down $20,000 to sign with the Mets as a 16-year-old:

They didn’t want me to sign until I finished high school. I always respected my parents, and I knew it was for my own good, so I didn’t sign. I always figured I was going to be a doctor anyway. … I used to love medicine. My mom’s a nurse. It’s something I grew up seeing. Every time people got sick, my mom would be the one who helped make them better.

He eventually signed with the Rockies when they agreed to let him finish high school. Passan’s article carries the clever headline “Jimenez gave up medicine to dispense pills” because last season he had the highest average fastball velocity in all of baseball while winning 15 games with a 3.47 ERA and 198 strikeouts. And now his older sister is the one studying to become a doctor.
Definitely check out the entire article, which has tons of good stuff (and good writing) about one of the game’s best and most intriguing young pitchers.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.