Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon are late-night poker pals

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Here’s an amusing little tidbit from Philadelphia Daily News gossip columnist Dan Gross:

Before the Phillies left for Houston, Cliff Lee brought fellow pitcher Jonathan Papelbon to Harrah’s in Chester to play poker. Lee’s a regular at Harrah’s poker room, usually playing late at night.

That’s legal, of course, as opposed to Alex Rodriguez’s appearances at underground poker games last year, although I’m sure MLB isn’t exactly thrilled about players gambling legally either.

I’m guessing Cliff Lee is pretty good at poker. Probably has a lot of patience, probably very precise, probably knows the math and strategy well.

I’m guessing Jonathan Papelbon re-raises everything pre-flop, goes all-in constantly for like 10 times more than he needs to bet, and then flips over the table whenever he doesn’t win a big pot.

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.