Tebow ends stint in MLB camp on high note

Ex-football star collects two hits, makes nice catch; expected to spend rest of spring on Minors side

Tebow ends stint in MLB camp on high note

JUPITER, Fla. -- Official scorers do not typically receive much attention in Spring Training games. But all eyes turned to Marty Sewell in the second inning Wednesday at Roger Dean Stadium, after Tim Tebow sent a bouncer to shortstop that Adeiny Hechavarria could not quite glove -- a ball on the borderline of an error and a hit. With a grin, Sewell ruled it the latter.

There was no such drama three innings later, when Tebow laced a first-pitch fastball up the middle for his third single in a five-at-bat span. The former NFL quarterback added a leaping catch in right field in the Mets' 6-2 loss to the Marlins, creating a fitting end to his time in big league camp.

"He's getting better," manager Terry Collins said. "That was the point. That's why he's here -- to see if he can make some strides. And he's made very good strides."

Tebow's two-hit game

Collins said afterward that the Mets have no further plans to borrow Tebow from Minor League camp, with games there beginning this week. If it is indeed the end for Tebow -- the Mets did say that once already this spring, only to change their minds later -- he finished on a high note. Tebow mustered a .214 Grapefruit League average in five games, despite beginning the spring 0-for-8. His defensive resume included a sliding catch in left field Monday, along with his leaping grab Wednesday to rob the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto of a hit.

"I feel like I'm improving," Tebow said, his right forearm bloodied from scraping the warning track. "I feel like I'm getting better every day, getting more and more comfortable, and also really enjoying it at the same time."

Tebow's leaping catch

This was the showy part of Tebow's transition to football from baseball -- Grapefruit League games that he called "an awesome opportunity" not just to face Major League pitching, but also to pick the brains of big league hitting coach Kevin Long, outfield and first-base coach Tom Goodwin, and veteran teammates such as Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson. The goal, Tebow said, was to "absorb as much knowledge as possible."

Along the way, Tebow learned the ins and outs of being a big league player, from batting practice schedules to drill techniques, even protocol on the team bus.

It's entirely possible Tebow never makes the Majors, as he and others have admitted in the past. But if he was going to try, he had to start somewhere.

"I think I had some ideas of what it'd be like," Tebow said. "It's been super fun and enjoyable, and a big adjustment. But at the same time, I feel like I've been learning every day and taking something new every day."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.