Mike Trout leaves game with lingering back injury

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Angels outfielder Mike Trout sat out Saturday and Sunday in Oakland because of stiffness in his back. He tried to return for Tuesday’s series-opener in Houston, but that stiffness hasn’t gone away …

Trout struck out in his only at-bat and did not have a ball hit to him in his one inning in center field. It’s probably a good bet that he won’t play Wednesday, but there’s been no talk yet of a disabled stint.

Trout is batting .293/.379/.546 with 11 homers, 38 RBI, and five steals in 54 games this year.

The Angels got Josh Hamilton back from a two-month absence on Tuesday night.

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.