Jeff Keppinger had done a nice job stepping into a bigger role in the Rays’ infield following Evan Longoria’s hamstring injury, hitting .295 with a .728 OPS in 29 games, but now he’s joined Longoria on the disabled list.
Keppinger has a broken right big toe, which happened when he was sitting in the dugout during Saturday’s game and a Martin Prado foul ball struck his foot. That’s some kinda aim, Martin.
To fill Keppinger’s spot on the roster the Rays dealt with the Pirates for Drew Sutton, a journeyman infielder traded for the second time in 72 hours. Keppinger is expected to miss 3-4 weeks, so Sutton will be thrown into the pieced-together infield mix with Sean Rodriguez, Elliot Johnson, and Will Rhymes.
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.