Mike Trout — a big fan of emojis — tweeted a very Mike Trout tweet last night:
That, obviously, means that Trout is traveling with the Angels to New York for their east coast swing. Which is significant because the only reason to be with the team on the road trip is to take part in baseball activities. Which he will: Pedro Moura of the L.A. Times reports that Trout will begin swinging a bat again soon as his recovery from thumb surgery stays on schedule.
Trout suffered a torn ligament in his left thumb on a headfirst slide during the Angels-Marlins game on May 28. His recovery was expected to be between six and eight weeks, and he may be on the early side of that if he’s swinging a bat now.
Trout was hitting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI and 10 stolen bases through 47 games when he went out. In his absence, Cameron Maybin has handled center field, while Eric Young Jr. has been playing left. Young has been hitting surprisingly well, actually. Because of that the Angels have somehow managed to tread water in Trout’s absence, going 10-10 in the 20 games he’s missed. They were one game under .500 when he left.
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.