Jose Valverde is in The Best Shape of His Life

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Via our friend Nick Collias comes the translation of an interview Tigers closer Jose Valverde gave to Mañana Deportiva on Dominican radio the other day. Valverde has lost weight.  And he has a nice description of Prince Fielder:

“I lost 40 pounds, because I was very obese.”

“I had to undergo that process because I was overweight. I ate healthily, something that a lot of players don’t do since we eat late, without caring what type of food it is. I hired a chef in order to better care for my food. You can even eat five times a day. The quantity doesn’t matter, but rather the quality.”

“After undergoing that diet process, there’s a change in the field, even during these early training days. My energy is much better. I feel more awake in the practices. It’s a overall change that I’ve given my body, in all senses.

About Prince Fielder: “As we say in the Dominican, Fielder is a block. He’s very strong, muscular. For his size and weight, he runs well. He goes after the ball like a man, not like a boy.”

“He goes after the ball like a man, not a boy.”  I like that. I think I’ll use that in the ATH recaps a few dozen times this year.

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.