Luke Scott won’t play any defense during spring training

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Luke Scott is coming back from shoulder surgery and Rays manager Joe Maddon said today that he won’t play the field at all during spring training, sticking strictly to designated hitter duties.

That isn’t such a big deal, as Scott is slated to be the Rays’ regular DH, but it does indicate that he’s not fully recovered from the operation to repair a torn labrum in July.

Scott was non-tendered by the Orioles in December following a career-worst season that saw him play just 64 games while hitting .220 with a .703 OPS. He got a one-year, $6 million deal from the Rays that includes a $6 million option for 2013, and the 33-year-old Scott posted an OPS above .800 in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Maddon and the Rays have so far laughed off Scott’s various headline-grabbing quotes and behavior, but his outspokenness probably won’t be so amusing if it doesn’t come with 25 homers.

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.