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Royals pitcher Ventura has suspension cut to 8 games

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has started serving his suspension after it was cut from nine games to eight.

Major League Baseball and the Royals announced Ventura would begin sitting out Saturday night when Kansas City hosts Detroit.

Ventura was originally suspended nine games for his role in a bench-clearing brawl June 7 at Baltimore.

Ventura twice brushed back Manny Machado, then hit him in the back with a 99 mph fastball. Machado charged the mound and swung at Ventura, and they wrestled on the ground. Ventura also hit Machado with a pitch last September.

Last year, Ventura incited three incidents during games in April. He was suspended seven games for one of them.

In two starts since the altercation in Baltimore, Ventura is 2-0. He threw 6 1-3 scoreless innings Friday night to beat the Detroit Tigers.

Ventura will be eligible for reinstatement on June 28 against the St Louis Cardinals if the Royals don’t have any rainouts before then.

Tim Tebow homers in spring training game

Tim Tebow
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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.