To my thinking, the only thing that can stop the juggernaut that is the Philadelphia Phillies are injuries. And on that score there is some not-awful-but-not-good news coming out of the Phillies clubhouse this afternoon:
Cole Hamels, who has been suffering from dead arm, had a “precautionary” MRI yesterday, and the results, according to Matt Gleb, are that he has inflammation in his shoulder. He’ll be skipped once in the rotation and then reassessed. Given that he’s not going to play for a bit, I guess that makes Ryan Howard the sixth best player on the Phillies.
Meanwhile, Placido Polanco, who hasn’t played in ten days, is still out of the lineup, suffering from a sports hernia. The news on him is a bit more troubling. If he needs surgery, Ruben Amaro says, he’s gone for the year. Surgery or not, at some point, the Phillies have to consider disabling him because even a team that strong can’t go with a 24-man roster forever.
Of course, given their eight and a half game cushion in the division and their 11-game cushion for a playoff spot, they can afford to fart around with that kind of thing longer than most.
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.