It’s bad enough that MLB’s home run records have been tainted by performance-enhancing drugs. Now we have no choice but to wonder exactly what Joey Gathright was on when he was jumping over cars way back when.
MLB announced today that Gathright was suspended for 50 games for amphetamine usage. Yeah, the guy who stole as many as 69 bases in a minor league season was busted for speed.
The 31-year-old Gathright was last seen playing for the independent Bridgeport Bluefish. He also played in 40 games for the Reds’ Triple-A Louisville affiliate earlier this year, hitting .299/.346/.347 in 147 at-bats. His suspension will take effect if he ever signs with an affiliated club in the future.
Gathright was viewed as a very good prospect back in the day. He had no power at all, but he hit .334 and .331 in his first full minor league seasons and then came in at .305/.388/.407 in his first stint in Triple-A as a 24-year-old in 2005. It never translated to the majors, though. In 1,175 major league at-bats, he hit .263/.328/.303 with one homer and 81 steals.
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.