Last week Nationals catching prospect Adrian Nieto was suspended 50 games after testing positive for banned substances named Oxandrolone and Metabolite.
Yesterday another Nationals catching prospect, 22-year-old Hector Taveras, was suspended 25 games after he was, according to the Associated Press, “found in possession of an unauthorized syringe.”
First-time violators of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program typically receive 50-game suspensions like Nieto, but because Taveras was found with a syringe rather than the actual drug(s) his suspension was lessened.
Taveras, who was signed out of the Dominican Republic, made his professional debut last season by hitting .300 with a .361 on-base percentage and .369 slugging percentage in 40 games for the Nationals’ rookie-level Gulf Coast League team.
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.