AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

Shades of Roy Oswalt: Shelby Miller plays left field for the Diamondbacks


Update (9:36 PM EST): Miller struck out looking to end the game, a 12-10 13-inning win for the Pirates.


Roy Oswalt famously played left field for the Phillies on August 24, 2010 in the 15th inning of an eventual 16-inning 4-2 loss. First baseman Ryan Howard was ejected arguing a check-swing call, forcing left fielder Raul Ibanez to move to first base, and the Phillies — with a depleted bench — sent Oswalt out to left field. Oswalt made the final out of the loss, grounding out to third base.

Left fielder Nick Ahmed was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the 12th inning. Channeling his inner Oswalt, Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller went out to left field after pinch-running for pinch-hitter Zack Greinke in the bottom of the 12th during Sunday’s game against the Pirates. That sentence just looks weird, doesn’t it? Greinke had singled and Miller wound up scoring, allowing the D-Backs to re-tie the game at 10-10.

Miller was promptly tested in the field. Josh Harrison led off the top of the 13th with a double to right field, and Sean Rodriguez followed up with a double of his own to left field.

Pirates pitcher Jonathon Niese then pinch-hit and drove a single to Miller in left, but it was also not a preventable hit.

There will certainly be video of Miller’s adventure in left field, so we’ll add it when it’s available. (Update: Here’s the Rodriguez double.)

Tim Tebow homers in spring training game

Tim Tebow
Mark Brown/Getty Images

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.