Tim Tebow talks about Spring Training with the Mets
JUPITER Tim Tebow seems to have baseball figured out … at least against the Marlins.
The former Heisman Trophy winner and star quarterback at the University of Florida seems to have most of his best moments during his attempt to play baseball for the Mets against the Marlins.
“I’m just trying to work and follow the process and get more reps,” Tebow said after getting two hits and making a nice leaping catch against the Marlins in Jupiter on Wednesday. “I’m feeling more comfortable every day. I feel like I’m getting better every day and really enjoying it at the same time.”
Tebow, 29, who last played in the NFL in 2012 with the New York Jets, has three hits in 14 at-bats so far this spring.
And they’ve all come this week against the Marlins.
Tebow, who played baseball until his junior year of high school at Nease High in Ponte Vedra Beach, recorded his first hit Monday in Port St. Lucie when he singled off lefty Kyle Lobstein and hit two more singles Wednesday while batting seventh in the Mets’ lineup and playing right field.
The first was a close one as Tebow reached on an infield single in the second inning off Justin Nicolino on a ball that was mishandled between third and short by Derek Dietrich. The official scorer ruled it a single. Tebow later hit a clean single up the middle off Stephen Fife in the fifth inning.
And Tebow didn’t just start hitting against Marlins pitchers this week. Tebow began his bid to play baseball last August and signed a minor-league contract with the Mets, who sent him to play in the Arizona Fall League.
There, Tebow won a game with a walk-off hit off Marlins’ prospect Drew Steckenrider.
“He’s just another player,” Nicolino said. “I mean, I know he’s Tim Tebow and he had a great career and football prospect. But I think the biggest thing is seeing him out there competing and giving it all he has to offer. When he stepped up, I heard the crowd, but to me I saw him as another hitter.”
Tebow also has made two nice defensive plays against the Marlins. On Wednesday, he made a leaping catch on a liner to right field by J.T. Realmuto. This came two days after he made a diving catch to rob Justin Bour of a hit.
“The wind was blowing it extremely hard into the corner, so you knew it was going to carry a little farther,” Tebow said. “I was just trying to get as good of a jump as possible and try to extend there at the end.”
Tebow said he is just trying to learn as much as possible with every small aspect of the spring training process.
Tebow, who hit only .194 in 70 plate appearances in the Arizona Fall League, drew cheers from fans at Roger Dean Stadium during every at-bat Wednesday.
“It’s an awesome opportunity, and I’m trying to make the most of it as far as a learning opportunity,” Tebow said.
Nicolino had his best outing and first scoreless outing of the spring during the Marlins’ 6-2 win over the Mets.
He pitched three shutout innings, allowed only three hits and struck out Yoenis Cespedes on three pitches, finishing him off with a deceptive changeup.
“I felt really good the first two innings and that part was mostly fastballs in and out,” Nicolino said. “I was able to throw some good curveballs and changeups and cutter played up well. I was really happy with my fastball command.”
▪ Thursday: Off day.
▪ Friday: Marlins RHP Scott Copeland vs. Washington Nationals (TBA), 1:05 p.m., Jupiter.