Dodgers reliever Blake Hawksworth out until mid-May

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Initially when Blake Hawksworth underwent elbow surgery in January his status for Opening Day was said to be in question, but now it turns out the Dodgers right-hander is expected to miss much of the first half.

Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News reports that Hawksworth won’t return from the disabled list until at least mid-May “even under the most optimistic scenario” because an infection following his first surgery led to a second operation two weeks later.

Don Mattingly indicated that Hawksworth will need 45 days to rebuild his arm strength and that clock won’t start ticking until he’s advanced to throwing off a mound, but so far he’s limited to playing catch on flat ground.

In other words, it’s going to be a while.

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.