Andy Pettitte scratched from simulated game Thursday

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MLB.com beat writer Bryan Hoch reports that Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte was scratched from a simulated game on Thursday in Florida after feeling some tightness in the area of his hip flexor muscle.

The Yankees aren’t calling this a setback just yet and are hoping that he will be able to throw the simulated game on Friday.  Of course, if the veteran southpaw can’t, it could significantly delay his return to New York’s starting rotation.

Pettitte, 38, has been on the disabled list with a Grade 1 tear of his left groin since late July.  He had a 11-2 record, a 2.88 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in 18 starts before the injury.  The Yanks will survive his absence — even if it’s now extended — but they’ll obviously want him to get some work in before the start of the playoffs.  For now that shouldn’t be an issue.

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.