Tim Tebow’s professional baseball career will continue with the Columbia Fireflies, the Mets’ low Class-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League.
The former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner was informed of the assignment on Monday.
“Sending him to a full-season club is what we hoped to be able to do,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told Newsday. “And based on what he’s done in spring training, and his whole body of work since last fall, we feel comfortable with him going to Columbia.”
The 29-year-old is hitting .235 – four hits in 17 at-bats – in seven games for the Mets in spring training entering Monday’s Grapefruit League exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers, where he was expected to start in leftfield.
Tebow, who saw regular-season action in three NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets in addition to brief practice-squad stints with the Eagles and Patriots, received a $100,000 bonus to sign with the Mets organization in September despite having not played organized baseball since his junior year of high school in 2005.
The Fireflies open the season on 6 April with a seven-game homestand.
“Tim Tebow will bring major excitement and national attention to the Fireflies and city of Columbia,” Fireflies team president John Katz said in a statement on the club’s website. “Baseball fans, sports fans and Tim Tebow fans will likely come from around the southeast to see him play. We expect this to add to the energy at Spirit Communications Park and around downtown Columbia, especially during our opening weekend.”