Twins cruising behind Francisco Liriano, lead Yankees

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The Twins are wearing the pinstripes this evening at Target Field.  That’s not a metaphor, it’s the truth.  The Twins are wearing pinstripes.  Let’s get to the updates…

Francisco Liriano got himself into trouble in the top of the third inning with a leadoff walk to Yankees speedster Brett Gardner, who stole 47 bases in 56 chances during the regular season.  Derek Jeter then followed with a sharp single to left field that fell just in front of Delmon Young.  But Nick Swisher flied out, Mark Teixeira did the same and a strikeout of Alex Rodriguez brought the Minnesota faithful to its feet.

Twins second baseman Orlando Hudson punched a single into left field to open the bottom of the frame and then advanced to third base on a soft infield groundout by Joe Mauer.  A passed ball one pitch later allowed “The O-Dog” to cross the plate and put the Twins up 3-0 after three innings.

Liriano rattled off a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fourth, retiring Robinson Cano on a groundout, Marcus Thames on a flyout and Jorge Posada on a gorgeous strikeout.  The Twins lefty, who fanned 201 batters in 191-plus innings during the regular season, is absolutely coasting through four innings against baseball’s most productive lineup.

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.