Josh Kinney out “several weeks” with stress reaction in side

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From beat writer Greg Johns of MLB.com comes word that Mariners reliever Josh Kinney will be out of commission for the next “several weeks” because of a stress reaction on the left side of his rib cage.

Kinney was expected to open the 2013 regular season in a middle relief role, but he can be ruled out for Opening Day and probably won’t be ready for a rehab assignment until late April or early May.

The 33-year-old right-hander registered a cool 3.94 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 35 relief appearances last season, fanning 36 batters in 32 innings. He signed a one-year, $700,000 contract with Seattle this winter as a first-year arbitration-eligible player.

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.