Andrew Bailey over lat pull, cleared to face live hitters

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Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey suffered a minor lat pull while performing vertical leap drills on one of the first days of spring training. But he has already moved past the injury and is ready to begin playing catch-up with the other relievers in camp.

According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Wednesday that Bailey has been cleared to face live hitters and could soon appear in his first Grapefruit League game.

Here’s Valentine, via WEEI.com:

“Bailey is ready. He threw the bullpen (session on Tuesday). The next time might be to a hitter, but it might be batting practice. We’re going to see how he feels. He might want to jump right into a game. He’s pain-free and feels like he’s throwing the ball fine.”

Bailey was acquired this offseason in a five-player trade with the A’s. The 27-year-old right-hander has registered a 2.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 9.0 K/9 in 174 career innings. He also has 75 saves in 84 tries.

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.