Tim Tebow remains a very raw baseball prospect, but New York Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Friday he’s been impressed by what he’s seen from Tebow at the plate so far this spring.
“He has a good swing. I think he’s putting some really good swings on some pitches,” the first-year Mets manager said.
Callaway made his comments after Tebow collected his first hit of the spring, a single off Washington Nationals pitcher Erick Fedde, in the Mets 2-1 Grapefruit League loss to the Nationals.
Tebow started Friday’s game as the Mets’ designated hitter and went 1-for-3 with a strikeout. It was his first start of the exhibition season.
“Obviously a base hit today, hit a couple of balls hard,” Callaway said. “That last at-bat, he really battled and hit a ground ball hard to the first baseman.”
Callaway said Tebow feels much more comfortable at the plate as compared to last year.
“He looks comfortable at the plate, and he tells us he’s feeling more and more comfortable,” Callaway said. “He feels like he’s in a much better spot than he was last year at this time.”
Tebow talked about his improved comfort level after the game.
“I’ve felt really good, and been really comfortable,” Tebow said. “Just feel a lot more adjusted to the game. I feel like I have a very different approach and swing, so I can be a lot more patient seeing pitches and trusting all the work that I’ve put in.”
Because he feels more comfortable at the plate, Tebow says he’s able to watch pitches just a bit longer while at the plate. He also says the long hours he’s put in working on his swing have improved his reaction to pitches.
“(The swing feels) so much more natural … with mobility, flexibility, and the path and the work of the swing,” he said.
That work didn’t stop Tebow from going down on three straight pitches to two-time National League Cy Young winner Max Scherzer in the bottom of the second inning.
“He’s nasty. He’s really good,” Tebow said of Scherzer. “First pitch, backdoor slider. Really good pitch. Second pitch, fastball, felt like I put a good swing on it. He’s got so much movement on his ball and it stays true. Then, throws another backdoor cutter 0-2. It’s awesome to see one of the best in the league.”
Tebow is just 1-for-7 so far this spring, with a batting average of .143.
He played DH Friday as he continues to recover from a sprained ankle suffered Sunday when he stepped on a sprinkler head in the outfield.
“I could (have played in the field) but it’s smarter to give it time to heal up,” Tebow said Friday.
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