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Cody Bellinger sets major league record with 21 home runs through first 51 games

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Cody Bellinger boosted the Dodgers’ lead from 1-0 to 4-0 with a three-run home run against Mets starter Zack Wheeler in the first inning. In doing so, he tied the major league record as the fastest to reach 20 home runs. Bellinger, Gary Sanchez (2016), and Wally Berger (1930) each needed 51 games. Bellinger set a new record in the second inning, belting a solo homer off of Wheeler to boost the Dodgers’ lead to 7-0.

Bellinger didn’t make his major league debut until April 25. Still, Monday’s first-inning homer moved him into a tie with the Brewers’ Eric Thames for the National League lead in home runs at 20. His second-inning blast moved him into the NL lead and tied him with Logan Morrison for second-most overall. Aaron Judge leads with 23.

Bellinger entered Monday’s action batting .261/.333/.628 with 43 RBI, 37 runs scored, and four stolen bases in 210 plate appearances. Pretty good numbers from a guy the Dodgers expected to send back to the minor leagues once their other outfielders got back to full health.

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.