Tim Tebow is keeping the faith.
The Mets’ 33-year-old minor leaguer hasn’t played a game in more than a year, but recently told MLB.com he is still training for a return to spring training in February.
“It’s not something that I want to do forever … because there’s a lot of other things that are in my heart that I want to pursue,” Tebow told the website. “But it is something that is still in my heart today.”
Tebow did not play at all this year after COVID-19 wiped out the minor-league season and he was not part of the Mets’ 60-man player pool. He last took the field in July of 2019 with Triple-A Syracuse, but his season was cut short for a second straight year by a hand injury.
In his three seasons in the minor leagues, the former Jets quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner hit .223 with a .638 OPS while playing almost all of his games in left field.
“I’m already behind the 8-ball in age and time and experience in all of these things, so of course it makes it harder,” Tebow said. “But I think at the same time, I try to learn from every bit of it. And that’s all that we can do.”
While Tebow’s former agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, is no longer the Mets’ general manager, the man who originally gave him a chance in baseball is back. New president Sandy Alderson was the general manager when the Mets signed Tebow in 2016.
By 2017, Alderson admitted that signing Tebow was “partly because this is an entertainment business.” But the following spring training, with Tebow invited to major league camp, Alderson boldly predicted that the outfielder “will play in the major leagues.”
Tebow went on to have his best year in 2018 with Double-A Binghamton, when he hit .273 with a .734 OPS during an All-Star season, but he’s still trying to get back to that level of play.
“There have definitely been some setbacks with it from two years ago when I was having what I thought was my best season,” Tebow said. “Definitely disappointing this year with COVID, but … I’m such a believer that in some areas of my life, every setback has been an opportunity for a setup for something different and unique that I have planned. All these have been pieces of setbacks, but I think I’ve also learned from them, adapted and grown.”
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