Justin Turner exits game with sprained ankle

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David Wright’s status for the start of the season is in doubt due to an intercostal strain and now his likely replacement at third base is hurting.

Justin Turner left the fourth inning of this afternoon’s Grapefruit League game due to a sprained right ankle. He suffered the injury when he got his legs tangled while trying to make a throw from third base.

Turner is being sent for precautionary X-rays, but Mike Kerwick of the Bergen Record notes that he was walking around the clubhouse “without much difficulty.” The hope is that things don’t get worse overnight.

Turner, 28, batted .269/.319/.392 with two home runs, 19 RBI and a .711 OPS in 185 plate appearances last season. Zach Lutz and Brandon Hicks are among the alternatives for the hot corner.

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.