UPDATE: Good news. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that tests on Layne came back normal. However, he’ll sit out the rest of weekend series as a precaution.
8:58 PM: Scary moment in tonight’s game between the Twins and Reds, as home plate umpire Jerry Layne was hit on the left side of his head by a broken bat in the fourth inning.
The incident took place when Devin Mesoraco’s bat cracked on a ground ball. The barrel of the bat connected with Layne, who stumbled for a moment before falling to the ground. He was unable to continue in the game, but walked off the field under his own power. Second base umpire Bob Davidson took over behind the plate.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that Layne was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati for examination. He never lost consciousness and the early word is that he didn’t suffer a concussion, but John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer hears that he’ll be checked for fractures of his orbital bone.
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.