Kershaw won’t be suspended for plunking Parra

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Los Angeles Dodgers left-handed ace Clayton Kershaw will not be suspended for hitting Arizona’s Gerardo Parra with a pitch on Wednesday night, according to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.

Umpire Bill Welke ejected Kershaw quickly in the sixth inning after an inside fastball bounced off Parra’s elbow. Welke was clearly reacting to the previous night’s festivities, when Kershaw screamed at Diamondbacks players after Parra stood and watched a home run.

Welke’s reaction is not surprising. In a way, it would have been more surprising if Kershaw had not plunked Parra at some point. Even D-backs broadcaster Mark Grace expected some fireworks, saying excitedly on Tuesday night’s game broadcast that “Kershaw’s gonna drill somebody. Alright!”

The problem is, if Kershaw did in fact drill Parra on purpose, he did about as good a job as possible in making it subtle. Parra was hugging the plate, and Kershaw’s pitch was not that far off the plate. A fastball to the middle of the back or the ribs would be one thing, but the pitch in question simply wasn’t that obvious.

The lack of a suspension proves that. And that’s a good thing. Kershaw is a strong contender for the NL Cy Young award, and it would be a shame to see him miss any starts the rest of the way over a minor incident.

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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.