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Rays’ rookie reliever Jose Alvarado tossed an immaculate inning

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Rays’ lefty reliever Jose Alvarado tossed an immaculate inning on Friday, becoming the seventh Major League pitcher to do so in 2017 and the 83rd in MLB history. Better yet, he’s just the fourth rookie pitcher to record an immaculate inning, joining the likes of Sloppy Thurston (1923), Nolan Ryan (1968) and Wade Miley (2012).

You already know the script for this one: Alvarado threw nine pitches to retire the side, whiffing Travis Shaw, Jesus Aguilar and Hernan Perez in the ninth inning of a 2-0 loss to the Brewers. He went to his changeup to catch Shaw swinging for the first out, then used his curveball to retire Aguilar and blew past Perez with three straight fastballs for the final out of the inning.

It was quite the comeback for the Rays’ reliever, who made his big league debut in May and struggled to a 5.89 ERA before getting demoted to Triple-A Durham. The same couldn’t be said for the Rays, however, who were stymied at the plate in the bottom half of the inning, leaving Daniel Robertson stranded to preserve the Brewers’ shutout and take their first loss of the month.

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.