Mat Latos diagnosed with flexor mass strain in elbow

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It’s going to be at least another month before right-hander Mat Latos is able to join the Reds’ rotation.

MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that Latos has been diagnosed with a flexor mass strain in his elbow and will be shut down for 10-14 days. When he does resume his throwing program, it will be almost like starting over from the beginning of spring training.

Latos opened the 2014 regular season on the disabled list because of February knee surgery. He had been aiming to make his debut around mid-April, but he felt discomfort in his forearm during a bullpen session on Friday afternoon and an MRI taken Saturday in Cincinnati revealed the flexor mass strain.

“It’s a setback in his recovery,” Reds skipper Bryan Price told MLB.com. “It’s more time off to let it recover, let it simmer down, get the inflammation out and start back up. We’ll keep working hard on staying in shape and doing all the other things that he’s capable of doing. His timetable will be pushed back fairly significantly.”

Latos, 26, posted a 3.16 ERA (121 ERA+) and 187 strikeouts across 210 2/3 innings last season.

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.