The Tigers send Phil Coke to the disabled list

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The Tigers early season bullpen overhaul continued as Phil Coke was moved to the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 26, with a left groin strain. In his place they bring in Jose Ortega from Toledo.

Ortega pitched two whole innings for the Tigers last year. Struck out four dudes, though. In Triple-A so far this season he’s allowed only one unearned run in 1 innings while striking out 19. That’s up from his minor league norms. His walk rate is down too, though still higher than you’d like to see in a reliever.

But it’s a potential plus for the Tigers: the chance to check out a live arm who could help later this season while simultaneously preventing Jim Leyland from using Phil Coke in situations other than lefty-on-left action.

Tim Tebow homers in spring training game

Tim Tebow
Mark Brown/Getty Images
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Mets minor league outfielder Tim Tebow hit a two-run home run during Tuesday afternoon’s Grapefruit League game against the Tigers. It’s his first spring training home run since beginning his professional baseball career in late 2016.

Tebow, 32, is, of course, a former college football legend. He had a much-anticipated NFL career that ended up brief and disappointing, prompting a change of vocation. Tebow was passable with Double-A Binghamton in 2018, but the Mets promoted him to Triple-A for the 2019 season anyway. That was a mistake. Through 264 plate appearances, Tebow hit .163/.240/.255, ranking as the worst hitter in the minor leagues.

Tebow also walked along with the homer in three plate appearances on Tuesday. While it’s a solid early showing, Tebow participating with the other big leaguers or soon-to-be big leaguers in spring training is something of a sideshow. If he were a regular ballplayer working his way up the ranks, he likely would have been cut after last season. He certainly wouldn’t have been given an invitation to big league camp the next year.

There are aspects of the Tebow situation to respect: that he’s athletic and dedicated enough to attempt a professional career in another sport, for example. He moves tickets and merchandise. But one can’t help but wonder about the roster spot he’s holding that would otherwise go to a more deserving player.