Mat Latos has a 9.00 ERA in four spring training starts and also got knocked around in a minor-league game that doesn’t officially count in those totals, and now he’s been scratched from tomorrow’s scheduled outing because of shoulder soreness.
Latos started Monday, allowing three runs in four innings, but according to manager Bud Black the soreness “just sort of popped up” Wednesday and kept him from the usual between-starts throwing session.
Shoulder problems would explain Latos’ struggles all spring, although certainly having a handful of bad outings in exhibition games doesn’t necessarily require an explanation. Still, prior to news of the arm problems Black and Latos both blamed his poor results on a lack of composure and similar, non-physical factors.
Latos was excellent overall in 2010, throwing 185 innings with a 2.92 ERA and 189/50 K/BB ratio as a 22-year-old, but he did tire down the stretch while going 0-5 with an 8.18 ERA. Combine that September fade with spring struggles and perhaps the shoulder problems date back further than Wednesday.
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.