Yu Darvish uneven in major league debut

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Yu Darvish’s major league debut didn’t go exactly as planned tonight against the Mariners, but he certainly showed flashes of why the Rangers broke the bank to bring him into the fold.

In what was likely a case of the nerves, Darvish allowed four runs on four hits and three walks in a 42-pitch first inning. The runs scored on a couple of bloop singles and a bases-loaded walk. While he didn’t look long for this one initially, the Japanese right-hander recovered quite nicely from there, allowing one run over his final 4 2/3 innings before being pulled after 110 pitches.

All told, Darvish gave up five runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings while striking out five and walking four. He also hit a batter and threw a wild pitch. Not the prettiest line, but he showed good velocity and retired 10 in a row at one point before walking Dustin Ackley with two out in the top of the sixth. He was finally pulled after giving up a single to Ichiro Suzuki, who went 3-for-4 against him on the night.

Fortunately for Darvish, the Rangers’ offense really picked him up tonight, scoring eight runs over the first four innings. He could actually walk away from his first major league start with a victory.

UPDATE: Darvish got the win, as the Rangers topped the Mariners 11-5.

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.