Stephen Strasburg dominant in first MLB start back from Tommy John surgery

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Stephen Strasburg just completed his first MLB start since undergoing Tommy John surgery last September. And it was fantastic.

Strasburg held the Dodgers to just two hits over five scoreless innings. He threw 40 out of 56 pitches for strikes while striking out four and walking none.

According to Brooks Baseball, Strasburg averaged 96.68 mph on his fastball and topped out at 98.7 mph while his changeup and curveball were just as nasty as they were before the surgery. The Nationals gave up three runs in the top of the sixth inning to erase a 3-0 lead, so Strasburg will be handed a no-decision. It would have been nice to see him get the victory, but the important part is that he walked away healthy.

Each of Strasburg’s first 13 major league starts have been an event. I suppose we’ll eventually get to the point where a Strasburg start will feel like a Justin Verlander start or a Tim Lincecum start, but hopefully he’ll continue to be appointment viewing for a long time. Nice to have him back.

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.