Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that Carlos Guillen has experienced a setback in his recovery from knee surgery, making it unlikely that the Tigers’ second baseman will be ready for Opening Day.
Jim Leyland didn’t quite rule out Guillen for Game 1, but did tell Beck that “the clock is ticking” and said: “There was one point where I thought he had a good chance to be the Opening Day second baseman.”
In other words, that’s no longer the case.
Scott Sizemore, who was the Opening Day second baseman last year, and Will Rhymes, who started a team-high 46 games at the position, are now competing to replace Guillen in the lineup for however long he’s out. And even if Guillen can get healthy by mid-April, the odds of him staying healthy while playing second base regularly at age 35 are very slim.
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.