Kris Medlen ready to face hitters for first time since Tommy John surgery

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Royals right-hander Kris Medlen missed the entire 2014 season following the second Tommy John surgery of his career, but he’s inching closer to game action.

According to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com, Medlen is scheduled to travel to the team’s complex in Surprise, Arizona on Monday to begin facing hitters. He’s about 13 months removed from surgery right now, but the Royals are understandably being cautious about his rehab process. The hope is that he could be a candidate to contribute around midseason.

After being non-tendered by the Braves last November, Medlen joined the Royals on a two-year, $8.5 million contract with a $10 million mutual option for 2017. The 29-year-old owns a 2.95 ERA over 61 starts and 91 relief appearances in his career, so he’s a fine gamble.

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.