Jason Motte hoping to be ready for game action in March

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch has a lengthy article updating the status of Jason Motte, who’s recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery last May.

In his absence Trevor Rosenthal has taken over as the Cardinals’ closer after Motte saved a league-leading 42 games in 2012, so whenever he does return it’ll be as a setup man. And according to Goold the 32-year-old right-hander is “working toward games possibly in mid-March.”

There are quite a few hurdles to clear before then and Motte is definitely behind a normal pitching schedule as spring training nears. There’s a good chance he’ll begin the season on the disabled list, but by May or June he could be helping an already deep Cardinals bullpen.

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.