Wandy Rodriguez will start Saturday for Dominican Republic

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After getting four innings of one-run ball from Samuel Deduno against the United States last night the Dominican Republic will start Wandy Rodriguez tomorrow against the winner of tonight’s USA-Puerto Rico game.

Because the Dominican Republic has already secured a spot in the next round there was some thought that they’d save Rodriguez for the semi-finals, but manager Tony Pena explained why that won’t happen to Barry Bloom of MLB.com:

I sat down with William Castro, the pitching coach, and we determined to pitch Wandy Rodriguez tomorrow, because if we didn’t, he was going to pitch with too many days of rest. So we want to keep the order the way it is, because what you have to understand is that we are in training, and those young men, no matter how much we want to win, we still have to think of them. We have to pitch them on their regular days, so they are in optimal condition.

Not mentioned is whether the Pirates had a say in the matter considering Rodriguez is being paid $13 million to pitch for them this season.

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.