Baltimore Orioles

Orioles pitcher Miguel Elias Gonzalez dies at 21 in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Orioles minor league pitcher Miguel Elias Gonzalez died from injuries sustained in a car accident in the Dominican Republic on Saturday, the team announced on Monday. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said in a statement, “Our organization is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Miguel Gonzalez. Miguel was beloved by his teammates and coaches in the Dominican Republic. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this very difficult time.”

The Orioles signed Gonzalez, 21, out of the D.R. on September 28, 2014. He pitched parts of three seasons in the Dominican Summer League, making 13 starts and 25 relief appearances.

Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte were killed in separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic earlier this year, and Oscar Taveras was killed in a car accident in the D.R. in October 2014. Three minor leaguers also died in 2016 in similar fashion. The dangers of driving in the D.R. are well known now and teams now speak to their players about the issue. For instance, back in January, Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post reported that the Nationals had vice president of international players Johnny DiPuglia tell his players at the club’s academy in Boca Chica, D.R., “You drink and drive and there’s a very good chance you’re going to have a grave issue on your hands.” In 2015, the World Health Organization rated the Dominican Republic as the deadliest country in which to drive in the western hemisphere due to lax enforcement of driving laws.

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.