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Adam Wainwright to finish the season in the bullpen

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Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright was shut down in late August — and received a platelet-rich plasma injection — due to a right elbow impingement. He pitched a simulated game yesterday and seemed OK to return, but he’s going to return in a different role: reliever. As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports, it’s simply a matter of time: Wainwright doesn’t have enough time to be stretched out to starting stamina once again before the season ends.

It also may have to do with the fact that the Cardinals just got swept by the Cubs, pushing them back six games in the Central with less than two weeks to play. No one in St. Louis will admit it’s over yet, but I wonder if the long odds of them making the playoffs counsel a more cautious approach with Wainwright. Or if, had they kept things tight with Chicago, he’d be pushing to take the ball as a starter, stamina be damned. He’s certainly gutted through worse things in the past.

Not that Wainwright can’t help the Cards try to do the very difficult from the pen. As you probably remember, Wainwright started his Cardinals career out of the bullpen, throwing 61 games in relief back in 2006, plus nine more games in the playoff as the Cards won the World Series. He likewise came out of the pen for the club in the 2015 playoffs, pitching three games in relief in St. Louis’ NLDS loss.

 

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.