Trade deadline pickup Jesse Crain may never pitch for Rays

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Jesse Crain was on the disabled list when the Rays acquired him from the White Sox and they did so knowing there was a chance he might never pitch for them because of a shoulder injury.

Crain remains on the DL nearly a month later and manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that the reliever is “kinda stuck right now” with his rehab and the Rays will need to see “significant movement” soon or give up on him pitching again this year.

Tampa Bay gave up a player to be named later or cash considerations, with Chicago’s compensation likely being determined by how much he pitched for the Rays. It was an interesting gamble that doesn’t look likely to pay off for the Rays. And it’s especially tough timing for Crain, an impending free agent who was in the midst of a career-year before the injury.

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.