NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After spending a year in the minor leagues, Tim Tebow will soon find out if he can hold his own against big-league competition.
The Mets announced Friday that Tebow is among the non-roster invitees to their major league spring training in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Following a three-year NFL career that saw him play for the Denver Broncos and Jets, the Heisman Trophy winner decided in 2016 to try his hand at baseball, a sport he excelled at in high school. His power and athleticism impressed scouts and eventually led to him signing with the Mets that September.
He participated in the Mets’ minor league spring training last year, but did appear in nine Grapefruit League games, going 4-for-27 (.148) with no extra-base hits and eight strikeouts.
Playing mostly left field and designated hitter, Tebow split last season between Class A affiliates the Columbia Fireflies and St. Lucie Mets. His stats were modest — .226 with eight home runs and 52 RBIs in 126 games — but he did help both clubs set attendance records despite having losing records.
In August, Tebow, 30, said he learned a lot during his first season of professional baseball.
“In looking back, there’s a lot of ups and downs, a lot of learning moments,” he said. “Almost every day there’s something that I’ve never been through before that I’m learning.”
Other non-roster invitees to Mets camp are first baseman Peter Alonso, third baseman David Thompson, infielder Phil Evans, outfielders Kevin Kaczmarski and Zach Borenstein, catchers Patrick Mazeika and Jose Lobaton and pitchers Matt Purke, Drew Smith, Corey Taylor, Adonis Uceta and P.J. Conlon.
Pitchers and catchers are set to report to camp Feb. 12.