Zack Greinke throws first bullpener since breaking rib

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Brewers starter Zack Greinke took his first big step toward returning from a rib fracture on Thursday afternoon at Miller Park.

According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, the right-hander stepped atop a mound and fired off around 30 pitches, reporting no abnormal pain or discomfort in the area of his cracked rib.

The Brewers are probably going to ask Greinke to throw bullpen sessions and simulated games over the next 10-14 days before clearing him for a minor league rehab assignment.

“He’s been really throwing the ball well,” said Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke. “Once his arm is built up and strong, then you can push him.”

The hope is that Greinke will be ready to make regular major league starts by the first week of May.

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.