Brian Wilson has mild oblique strain, Opening Day in doubt

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Here’s some bad news for the defending World Series champions.

According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Brian Wilson underwent an MRI this morning which revealed a “mild” strain of his left oblique muscle. Wilson told the training staff that he suffered the injury during his most recent outing on Thursday night.

While Giants manager Bruce Bochy wouldn’t definitively say that the bearded one is in doubt for Opening Day, he acknowledged that there’s some concern due to the nature of the injury.

“There’s concern, sure,” Bochy said. “Sometimes these things take longer than others. On Monday we’ll have a better idea, and then I can tell you how much concern, but sure there’s concern when it’s an oblique.

“We still have some time here. He was at a pretty good place before he injured it, how he was throwing. It’s a setback. Hopefully Monday we’ll find it it’s not too long of a setback. I know how tough and strong he is. He isn’t overly concerned.

Remember, Wilson was sidelined for the first week or so of exhibition action due to a back injury, so while relievers don’t need many appearances to get ready for the season, he needs to get some work.

Bochy told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that it’s “premature” to name a replacement for Wilson, but you’d have to figure that Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and possibly Javier Lopez would be in the mix.

The Mets expect Tim Tebow to come back next year

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Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Newsday today that he expects minor league outfielder Tim Tebow to return for a third season in professional baseball.

Tebow, 31, broke the hamate bone in his right hand while swinging a bat in late July, ending his season. It was a fairly successful season for him all things considered. After being promoted to Double-A Binghamton to start the year he hit .273/.336/.399 with six home runs, a stolen base and a .734 OPS in 298 plate appearances and made the Double-A All-Star team. That’s not the stuff of a top prospect — he strikes out far too much and the power numbers aren’t fantastic given that power would figure to be his strongest tool — but it’s pretty respectable for a guy his age and with his relative lack of baseball experience. As I said back in July, you can believe the Mets’ interest in Tebow is more marketing than baseball, but that does not preclude you from giving the guy a deserved tip of the cap for working hard and sticking it out in the bush leagues.

Assuming he does come back, the Mets are likely to start him at Triple-A Syracuse in the hopes that he’d eventually get to the bigs as a late season callup if the Mets aren’t in contention. Indeed, many believed that was the plan for him this year had he not been injured.