Tim Tebow is starting to find his groove at the plate, but Columbia Fireflies manager Jose Leger said he couldn’t predict if that means a promotion for the outfielder.
Tebow had his second three-hit game in the past six games with a 3-for-4 effort Wednesday against the Asheville Tourists. He finished the homestand by going 9-for-16 and has raised his batting average from .156 to .246 since April 19.
Still, that doesn’t mean Tebow will be leaving the Fireflies anytime soon as some have speculated. CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa said he expects Tebow to be promoted to the advanced-A Port St. Lucie Mets.
“There are some guys who do really good who get taken away from me halfway through the year. Then there are guys that get taken away really early,” Leger said. “It is hard to predict when it happens. A lot depends on what is happening in the level above. Whenever they decide it, he will be ready. He is just working hard and we are going day by day.”
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Fireflies’ president John Katz also wouldn’t speculate how long Tebow’s stay would last. Columbia, a low Class A team, has benefited from having him on the roster. Attendance is up over last year’s pace and fans are buying Tebow’s No. 15 T-shirts.
Many of the school children who attended Wednesday’s matinee were chanting “Tebow, Tebow” during his at-bats and when he was signing autographs after the game.
“The Mets have a long-term plan,” Katz said. “This has been a great stretch for him and the Fireflies. We want to see the players be successful, and it is fun to see these guys progress. And when the time is right for Tim, when he is ready, he will move up and, hopefully, he will be successful. I just couldn’t put a timetable on when that will be.”
Leger said Tebow, who wasn’t made available to the media following the game, was able to work with the Mets’ roving instructors the past few days. The instructors travel from team to team in the Mets’ organization. The biggest change in Tebow’s swing has been him using a front-left leg kick and getting his timing down.
Tebow was able to go to all fields Wednesday with a double to left, single up the middle and then triple to the right-field corner in the sixth. It was his first triple in the minor leagues and he capped it off with a head-first slide into third base.
“He has been able to get his foot down on time, working on his timing, and it is finally paying off. He is more consistent,” Leger said. “When you get a couple hits and find that rhythm at the plate, your confidence also grows. That is what has been happening.”