Carlos Gonzalez tests sprained finger by taking swings in cage

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The Rockies shut down Carlos Gonzalez earlier this month due to continued issues with a sprained middle finger on his right hand, but he is beginning to make some progress.

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, Gonzalez tested the finger earlier today by taking 30 swings in the cage. He plans to hit on the field tomorrow and could go out on a minor league rehab assignment soon if he continues to make progress. This would set him up for a potential return in September, giving him some peace of mind going into the offseason.

Gonzalez is batting .302/.367/.591 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, and 21 stolen bases in 103 games this season. He leads the National League with a .958 OPS.

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.