Roy Halladay fails to make it four innings in first start

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Roy Halladay struck out nine Atlanta batters Wednesday in his first start of the regular season. But everything else about the outing was hideous.

Halladay threw only 55 of his 95 pitches for strikes, yielding five earned runs on six hits and three walks before getting pulled with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning. His fastball touched 91-92 mph on occasion — which was a positive sign — but it didn’t have the kind of movement or bite that it usually does and he relied primarily on his breaking stuff.

Halladay posted an ugly 6.06 ERA, 1.84 WHIP and 16/9 K/BB ratio in 16 1/3 innings this spring while struggling to build his fastball velocity. The 35-year-old is owed $20 million this season and carries a $20 million vesting option for 2014.

The Braves (now 2-0) defeated the Phillies (now 0-2) by a score of 9-2.

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.