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Tim Tebow is nursing a left ankle sprain after running over a sprinkler head in the outfield at the New York Mets‘ spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

The former Florida quarterback, one of 15 non-roster invitees to the Mets’ big league camp, is expected to resume full workouts in a few days. For now, he is limited to taking batting practice.

“I’m trying to be smart about it and keep [the ankle] taped,” Tebow said Sunday.

The 2007 Heisman trophy winner hit .226 with eight home runs in 126 Class A games in 2017, his first full season in baseball.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said last week that he believes Tebow will play in the majors at some point.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Rheal Cormier, longtime MLB pitcher and 2-time Olympian, dies at 53 after cancer battle

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PHILADELPHIA — Rheal Cormier, the durable left-hander who spent 16 seasons in the majors and remarkably pitched in the Olympics before and after his time in the big leagues, died Monday. He was 53.

The Philadelphia Phillies said Cormier died of cancer at his home in New Brunswick, Canada.

Cormier owned a neat nook in Phillies history: He was the winning pitcher in the final game that Philadelphia won at Veterans Stadium in 2003, and also was the winner in the first game the Phils won after moving into Citizens Bank Park in 2004.

Overall, he was 71-64 with two saves and a 4.03 ERA with St. Louis, Boston, Montreal, Philadelphia and Cincinnati. A member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, Cormier pitched 683 games — among his countrymen, only Paul Quantrill (841) pitched more in the majors.

Cormier made other prominent appearances on the mound, too.

Three years before his big league debut, he pitched for Canada in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Then in 2008, a year after his final game in the majors, he again threw for Canada in the 2008 Beijing Games — he tuned up for the event by tossing in a men’s senior league.

“Rheal was one of the most vibrant people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing,” former teammate and Hall of Famer Jim Thome said in a statement released by the Phillies. “He loved baseball, but he always put his family first.”

“Frenchy was the kind of guy who would do anything for you and I’m lucky to have called him my friend for many years. Our time spent together in Philadelphia as teammates was unforgettable. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten,” Thome said.

Cormier went 8-0 with a 1.70 ERA in 65 games for the Phillies in 2003. That was the final season in the majors for another Philadelphia lefty, longtime reliever Dan Plesac.

“One of my all time favorite teammates. Big heart, spent 2yrs sitting next to him in the @Phillies bullpen,” Plesac tweeted. “he made everyone he played with better…keep throwing that 3-2 splitter in heaven.”

In 2004, Cormier got into 84 games, a Phillies record for a left-handed pitcher.

Cormier debuted with the Cardinals in 1991 and was a starter early in his career. He pitched his only shutout in 1996 for the Expos, a three-hitter against St. Louis.

A lefty specialist in his later years, he finished with six games for Cincinnati in 2007, making his last appearance in the majors five days before his 40th birthday. He reached the postseason twice, both times with Boston.

The Phillies said Cormier became a U.S. citizen on Sept. 22, 2004, during a Philadelphia-Marlins series in Miami.

“I’m living the American dream and feel like I can give back, help the community and be a part of this country,” Cormier said shortly before the ceremony.

The Phillies said Cormier was active with Phillies Charities Inc. during his six years with the club and was involved with teenage anti-drug and suicide prevention programs in Canada.

Cormier is survived by his wife, Lucienne, son Justin and daughter Morgan.



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Los Angeles Dodgers’ David Price open to any role in 2021 — Whatever makes us better

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — David Price watched the 2020 season as a spectator and was often struck by the talent throughout the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation. When the offseason progressed and word began to spread that his team might ultimately add Trevor Bauer, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, Price knew it would create a significant logjam.

He reached out to Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and delivered a message — if Bauer signs, he’ll take on any role.

“Whatever makes the 2021 Dodgers better,” Price said, “I’m all for it.”

When Price made his spring debut from Camelback Ranch on Monday, retiring all three Chicago White Sox hitters he faced in the fourth inning, the blueprint remained fuzzy.

With Bauer and Price, a five-time All-Star who sat out the COVID-19-shortened season, the Dodgers boast at least seven bona-fide starting pitchers. Atop the pecking order are Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. Somewhere near the bottom reside Julio Urias, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin — all young, all talented, all ready to join a major league rotation.

With Kershaw, Buehler, May, Urias and Gonsolin absorbing a vast majority of the starts in 2020, the Dodgers led the NL in ERA while en route to a World Series championship. Adding Bauer and Price to the mix now gives them an important layer of depth for a year when the entire industry is worried about how to account for the innings jump that comes with increasing the regular-season schedule from 60 to 162 games.

The Dodgers might initially get creative with their starting pitching, perhaps by using two starters per game as a way to limit workloads early on. But their plans remain nebulous.

For now, at least, all eight starters on the Dodgers’ depth chart — a list that includes Jimmy Nelson, who was brought in on a minor league contract — will be stretched out traditionally.

“They all might be a little bit different,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of how he’ll use his starters in April, “but we all see them from that same lens.”

Price, 35, joined the Dodgers alongside Mookie Betts in February of 2020 but announced he would opt out of the season five months later, citing a desire to remain close to his family during a tumultuous time. He’ll make $64 million over the next two years, with the Boston Red Sox paying half his salary.

Prior to his most recent outing, Price had logged only 4 1/3 innings in a stretch of 18 months, all of them in spring training.

He was admittedly anxious in the hours leading up to his spring debut.

“Could feel it last night, could feel it yesterday leading up to today,” Price said. “This morning when I woke up I was excited, antsy while I was on the field. It felt good to get back out there.”

Price began his outing by falling behind in the count, 2-0, to White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, then came back to retire him on a groundout and began to settle down. He followed by striking out Luis Robert and ended the inning by inducing a harmless pop-up to Jose Abreu, the reigning American League MVP.

The stadium radar gun twice clocked Price’s fastball at 94 mph, a couple ticks faster than his average from 2019.

“I was hoping for 92,” Price said. “I saw the changeup at 86, so I knew it couldn’t have been too bad. Ninety-four — that’s awesome. If I can go out there and be 91 to 93, I can be very effective. If I can get it up to 94 and 95, maybe even more. That’s a good sign.”

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Washington Nationals mum on why Jeremy Jeffress released; Jon Lester returns to camp

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Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo declined to specify Monday why Jeremy Jeffress was released from a minor league contract by the team, saying only that he considered it an “employment issue” and acknowledging it was not related to the reliever’s baseball performance.

“We’re just going to stand by the statement I made yesterday. It’s a ‘personnel matter’,” Rizzo said in a video conference with reporters a day after the team cut ties with Jeffress, a 2018 NL All-Star for the Brewers who was with the Cubs last season. “We’re not going to discuss it any further, per our policy on personnel matters, and we’re just going to keep it at that.”

Asked to define the term he used in relation to the move, Rizzo responded, “A ‘personnel reason’ is an employment issue.”

After Washington announced his release Sunday, Jeffress tweeted: “I’m not what they say I am, I’m what God says! I don’t deserve this false negativity!”

Manager Dave Martinez wouldn’t comment on Jeffress at all.

“I’m really not inclined to talk about it,” Martinez said.

Other topics addressed by Washington’s GM or manager before the club hosted the New York Mets in an exhibition game Monday:

  • Pitcher Jon Lester is back in camp after surgery to remove his thyroid gland on Friday in New York. “He’s sore around where the incision is, so we’re going to take it slow. But we’re going to actually ramp him up,” Martinez said.

  • 2019 World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Astros and throw 30 to 35 pitches in his first appearance since he was shut down in August and had carpal tunnel surgery on his right wrist. Strasburg only threw five innings in 2020. “We just got to keep an eye on him, make sure … that (he) doesn’t do too much,” Martinez said. “So for me, it’s just about watching his innings and building him up to where we feel like when we leave spring training, he’s up to about 85, 90 pitches.”

  • Rizzo said he and the team’s owners are “in the midst of making decisions on what a time frame would look like” with long-term contracts for right fielder Juan Soto and shortstop Trea Turner. “We certainly have made, and will make, a long-term extension offer to both players some time in the near future,” the GM said.

  • Washington “probably would not consider” using a six-man rotation to begin the season, Rizzo said. “There’s going to be some creative ways to get these starters through games early on in the season until they’re really comfortable and really built up,” he said.

  • Reliever Tanner Rainey was scheduled to throw a bullpen session of about 20 pitches on Monday; he has been dealing with a muscle issue near his collarbone. Rizzo and Martinez expect Rainey to be ready for Opening Day.

  • The D.C. government said last week it has not approved spectators at Nationals Park, but Rizzo said he’s optimistic a solution can be worked out.

  • The team’s alternate site again will be at Fredericksburg, Virginia.



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