Andrew McCutchen entered tonight’s game against the Cardinals hitting just .235, including .105 in his previous five games, but you don’t expect the Pirates’ star to be subbed out in a fifth-inning double-switch. But that’s exactly what acting manager Jeff Bannister did when he approached home plate umpire Tim Timmons with his lineup card.
Starling Marte moved from center to left, Jared Hughes came into relieve and take McCutchen’s spot at #3 in the order, and Jose Tabata took over in center. McCutchen was visibly displeased with the decision as he very slowly walked off the field, staring blankly ahead.
McCutchen had gone 0-for-3, leaving four runners on base and lowering his batting average on the season to .226.
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.