Mat Latos made the most of two extra days of rest, pitching his second career complete game and striking out a career-high 13 batters Monday as the Reds beat the Brewers 3-1.
Latos was pushed back to Monday because Reds manager Dusty Baker wanted to slot him in between Mike Leake and Bronson Arroyo in the rotation.
“Leake and Arroyo are very similar,” Baker said. “Plus the extra day with the off-day, too, gave us the liberty to do something.”
Whether the extra rest helped or not, Latos responded with easily his best effort for Cincinnati. He entered with a 5.20 ERA in 14 starts, and his previous high for innings pitched in a game this year was 7 1/3. Inefficiency had been a hallmark of his season, but he needed just 109 pitches to get through nine tonight, even with all of the strikeouts mixed in.
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.