UPDATE: In Tebow’s second at bat, in the fourth inning, he came up with no outs and the bases loaded. He fouled off a couple of pitches and took a ball high and then . . . grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. A run scored, tying the game. He doesn’t get the credit for an RBI, of course, but he did get a standing ovation. For grounding into a DP. So on he goes.
2:25 PM: Tim Tebow is playing in his first ever spring training game today. And a few minutes ago he had his first ever at-bat. It was a quick one: Rick Porcello of the Red Sox struck him out on four pitches. Video below.
The sequence: ball — good eye, Timmy! — called strike, swinging strike and then . . . called strike three. The third strike was probably a bit low. Watch:
Tebow thought the last call was questionable:
Porcello is gonna get that low strike a lot of the time, and you can bet your life that the ump is going to give it to him against a quarterback/side show. No offense.
Tebow is DHing today. He’ll probably play in the outfield on Friday. Make sure to follow closely, because he’s probably only got about 13-14 minutes left in his 15-minute baseball career. Figuratively speaking.
John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.
The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.
Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.
The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.