The Yankees lineup tonight includes two welcome names: Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis. The former is batting cleanup and playing first base. The latter is DHing and batting second.
Teixeira, of course, has been out since early in spring training, when he tore the tendon sheath in his right wrist while taking batting practice in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. Youkilis has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 28 with a lumbar spine strain.
Teixeira has been though by some to have his years of stardom all in the rear view mirror. Youk was hitting .266/.347/.422 in 72 plate appearances before he went down, which was not the Youk of old. But given what Joe Girardi has had to work with in recent weeks, both in the lineup have to be considered genuine sights for sore eyes.
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.