Tim Tebow strikes out in debut with Major League team, still gets cheered

MANILA, Philippines - Tim Tebow couldn’t have booked a more formidable welcoming party to spring training than reigning American League Cy Young winner Rick Porcello.

That’s the pitcher who the former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback turned New York Mets outfielder met in his first at-bat on Wednesday, March 8 when the Mets played the Boston Red Sox at First Data Field in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. 

Tebow went down in 4 pitches, though an argument could be made that the strikeout pitch was low. The rest of his day consisted of grounding out into a double play, getting hit by a pitch and striking out looking again. But that didn't stop the thousands in attendance from cheering his every action.

“I felt OK, put some good swings when I swung. You just learn. It was the first day for me, getting a chance to compete, and I'll learn a lot from it," Tebow, who started as a designated hitter, was quoted as saying by ESPN.

Porcello, who had a 3.15 ERA last season, wasn’t caught up in the Tebow-Mania.

“I didn't know who that was. I thought it was a ballboy. It didn't bother me,” said Porcello.

The Makati City, Philippines born American is less than a year into a return to baseball, a sport he hadn’t played since high school. He’s had some success as a minor leaguer, hitting a home run on the first pitch he saw in an instructional league game against the St Louis Cardinals in September. 

Tebow will reportedly begin the season with the minors, though ESPN points out that the level he’ll play for hasn’t been announced. – Rappler.com