jose fernandez getty

Jose Fernandez completes rookie season with a 2.19 ERA

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Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez made his final start of the 2013 season on Wednesday night at Marlins Park against the Braves. He went out with a bang.

Pumping easy high-90s fastballs and wicked off-speed stuff, the 21-year-old right-hander held first-place Atlanta to to one run on five hits over seven innings while striking out five in what wound up as a 5-2 victory for Miami. Fernandez also contributed offensively, slapping a fourth-inning single to center field and cranking his first career home run — a solo shot — in the sixth inning. He watched the homer fly, flipped his bat and then appeared to spit near the third base bag, prompting a benches-clearing reaction from the Braves. No punches were thrown and no ejections were handed out. Here’s the replay:

Fernandez — the likely Rookie of the Year in the National League — will finish his first big league season with a 2.19 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 187 strikeouts in 172 2/3 innings. As noted by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, that 2.19 ERA is the best mark from a starter in his age-20 season since Doc Gooden (1.53) in 1985.

MLB may introduce “tacky” baseballs in 2018

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.

They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.

As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.

Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.

Here we go: Tim Tebow reports to Mets camp

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - SEPTEMBER 20: Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Mets speaks at a press conference after a work out at an instructional league day at Tradition Field on September 20, 2016 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.

Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.

The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.

In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: