Chad Billingsley ready to rejoin Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley should be ready to rejoin the rotation early in April. Eric Stephen, at SB Nation’s Dodgers blog True Blue LA, notes that Billingsley tossed six-plus strong innings in a Minor League game tonight, showing that he has overcome a fingernail injury sustained while attempting a bunt.

Stephen also notes:

Manager Don Mattingly said Billingsley remains in his starting rotation, but it will just be a matter of when. The Dodgers don’t technically need a fifth starter until Apr. 13, their 11th game of the season. But Billingsley could be mixed into the rotation earlier, perhaps as early as Apr. 7.

Billingsley landed on the disabled list in late August last season due to a partial tear of the UCL ligament. Prior to that, he had posted a 3.55 ERA in 149.2 innings.

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.