Julio Teheran to start Opening Day for Braves

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Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that right-hander Julio Teheran will start Opening Day for the Braves when they take on the Brewers on March 31.

Kris Medlen was originally expected to get the call for the Braves, but he underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week, leaving Teheran as the obvious choice for the assignment. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez hasn’t officially announced the rest of his rotation, but Alex Wood, Freddy Garcia, and David Hale are the expected names. Ervin Santana could make his season debut on April 9 while Mike Minor should be ready to come off the disabled list by the second half of April.

Teheran, 23, posted a 3.20 ERA and 170/45 K/BB ratio over 185 2/3 innings last season and finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting. He agreed to a six-year, $34.2 million extension with the Braves last month.

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.