After throwing 42 pitches in his first minor-league rehab start last week Matt Garza took the mound at Triple-A yesterday and threw 54 pitches.
He recorded 10 outs, giving up one run on four hits and zero walks in 3.1 innings. He threw 37 of 54 pitches for strikes, struck out three, and according to what manager Dale Sveum told Carrie Muskat of MLB.com “he was really pumped up, everything went really well.”
Muskat reports that Garza will likely make at least two more rehab starts before being cleared to return from a strained lat muscle. He last pitched for the Cubs in July, but the impending free agent is on track to rejoin the rotation by the end of the month.
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.