Authentic Tim Tebow Jersey

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Just count it as another page in the storybook career of Tim Tebow(Tim Tebow Jersey).

Tebow, on the first pitch of his first organized game since a state semifinal during his junior year of high school, hit a 91 mph fastball over the left-center wall for a home run on Wednesday. After circling the bases, Tebow was greeted at the plate by his New York Mets instructional league teammates, who had poured out of the dugout.

Tebow, a former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback, had quietly taken those teenagers out to dinner Monday and to a movie Tuesday after intrasquad games.

“It’s fun to be back out there playing a game, playing a game I love and haven’t played in a while, and getting to go compete at it too,” Tebow said. “It’s really fun.”

The crowd, announced by the Mets at 269, also erupted as Tebow connected and circled the bases.

Tebow finished 1-for-6. He logged five innings in left field and cut off the lone ball hit in his direction to hold the batter to a single.

“I liked a lot of my at-bats today,” Tebow said. “I felt like I hit the ball really hard four of the six times. Two of the times — one to short, where we were doubled up, and then one I got jammed on — those were the two I’ve got to get the bat around a little faster.

“Four of the at-bats I felt really, really good about. I didn’t swing at any breaking balls. I didn’t feel like I really got fooled seeing it. I felt good seeing it out on the hand. I was just late on a couple of the fastballs.”

The long ball came off 6-foot-5 left-hander John Kilichowski, who was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 11th round out of Vanderbilt University in June.

“In the first inning a lot of guys will take the first pitch, and you just like to get ahead in the count,” Kilichowski said. “And I had some things I wanted to work on because it’s instructs and that’s what you do. So I just went right in with a fastball and he just hit it out.”

Asked if he was at all excited about being on the wrong end of Tebow’s attention-grabbing first professional homer, Kilichowski said, “Not really. There’s worse things. The guy works hard. He hit the ball hard. You can’t be mad at him for that. … The ability to hit the ball hard, he has to have that. And he did that. It’s a step in the right direction for him.”

There are five games remaining in the instructional league, although Tebow will be away for the one on Saturday because of his ESPN duties as a college football broadcaster.

Mets officials have suggested that Tebow’s performance in the instructional league will determine whether he is ready to be sent to the Arizona Fall League or a winter league, or will just receive individual instruction this offseason. Tebow indicated it’s too early to know which path he will take.

“I have no idea,” he said. “For me, this is the third day getting to see live pitching. I feel better every day. I’m just enjoying the coaching, enjoying being here. We’ll figure that out after next week.”

Tebow acknowledged differences between his former career as a quarterback and his baseball pursuit. He noted a pedal-to-the-metal approach doesn’t precisely translate from football to baseball.

“Being on your feet for six hours, staying warm and stretched in between innings, that’s different,” Tebow said. “When you’re used to going four to six seconds of relentless effort, and now it’s something where you’re getting longer breaks, that’s a little different.”

Still, there are some similarities to his first training camp with the Denver Broncos.

“Having to adjust to a new locker room, new teammates, everything is brand-new for you — even more so now than Denver for my first training camp there,” Tebow said. “But you learn from everything — the good and the bad. There are so many different things from all of my experiences that I take and bring to this that I think help.”

As for why he swung at the first pitch Wednesday, Tebow said, “I just wanted to have the approach that I was going to be aggressive. That’s something we’ve been talking about here every day and practicing it — and really trying to go gap to gap, and trying to sit on off-speed stuff. But if you get a fastball, drive it, and be aggressive.

“That’s kind of my mentality anyway. I like it. It was probably a little high, but I tried to get good barrel on it, and luckily it went out.”

Marlins Yasiel Puig Jersey

LOS ANGELES — Yasiel Puig(Yasiel Puig Jersey) crumpled into his clubhouse chair and put both hands over his face after speaking with reporters about his close relationship with Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, the fellow Cuban who was killed earlier Sunday morning in a boating accident in Florida.

Puig had gotten to know Fernandez in 2013, when both were battling for NL Rookie of the Year honors, an award eventually won by Fernandez. They had dinner as recently as two weeks ago, when the Dodgers were in town for a three-game series.

“He was a very good guy and I also liked the way he played baseball,” Puig said through an interpreter before the Dodgers faced the Colorado Rockies in the finale of their three-game series. “The way he treated his mom and his grandma, his teammates and other ballplayers.”

Puig, who had two hits and five strikeouts in 11 career plate appearances against Fernandez, said facing the hard-throwing right-hander was the best part about playing the Marlins.

When he faced Puig for the final time in their most recent meeting (Sept. 9 at Marlins Park), Fernandez struck him out with a 98 mph fastball. Puig blew him a kiss as he headed back to the dugout.

Puig said Fernandez was the best pitcher in the majors behind Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw.

“I liked to face him,” Puig said. “We would joke around a lot, having a lot of fun. Sometimes, he would throw balls and I would tell him to throw strikes, and I think next time we face Miami and when we play baseball and he’s not there, I’m really going to miss him.”

After collecting himself in the dugout, Puig grabbed a Dodgers jersey with Fernandez’s name and number on the back and hung it in the dugout. Puig is scheduled to bat cleanup in Sunday’s regular-season home finale, a game that will clinch a fourth straight NL West title for the Dodgers if they can win.

Puig has batted fourth just three others times this season, marking a major step up for the right-fielder, whose first four months to this season were so tumultuous and inconsistent that he was sent down to the minors for all of August, only to return as a more disciplined player and better teammate. Puig credited Fernandez with giving him a sincere pep talk.

“When we were in Miami, he constantly gave me advice about how to better myself,” Puig said. “Now, I lost him.”

Joey Bosa Chargers Jersey

SAN DIEGO — It took a little over three weeks, but San Diego Chargers rookie defensive end Joey Bosa(Joey Bosa Jersey) finally practiced in full pads with his teammates on Wednesday.

Hampered by a minor hamstring strain since ending a month-long contract stalemate during training camp and signing his deal on Aug. 29, Bosa had participated in just one practice in a helmet, jersey and shorts the following day before being slowed by the lingering injury.

Bosa talked to reporters after practice, saying it was the first time he put on pads since Ohio State took on Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl back on New Year’s Day.

Bosa only participated in three defensive drives in that game before being ejected for targeting.

The Chargers have just nine padded practices remaining this season, so getting the former Buckeye ready for game action could be a difficult task because he did not participate in training camp.

Bosa was listed as a limited participant on San Diego’s injury report. He said he did individual work and a good amount of running. He said that, overall, practice went well.

Still, Bosa wasn’t ready to say he will play on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

“It’s a day-by-day thing,” he said.

Bosa showed no ill-effects from the workout. He said his health and conditioning felt good after practice. However, one thing he’ll have to work on is getting into football shape this week.

“It’s good, but it’s something I need to work on,” Bosa said. “Because putting the pads on and playing football is different than anything you’re going to do, any conditioning.

“So it will take a little bit of time, because obviously these guys have had all camp, and all preseason and the last couple games. But it will be fine.”

Chargers coach Mike McCoy remained steadfast in his approach, saying he’s taking Bosa’s inevitable appearance in a game day-by-day, but his participation in practice is a step in the right direction.

“It’s the next step that Joey needed to make,” McCoy said. “He had a little setback when he got here. He’s been working hard to get back out here, so it was good to get him out on the field today.”

McCoy went on to say he will let folks know when Bosa gets the green light to play on game day.

“Mentally, he’s in all of the meetings,” Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano told Xtra 1360 Fox Sports Radio. “He’s asking questions. Does a level of frustration come in because you’re not out there doing the things you want to do? Sure.

“But the most important thing is making sure he’s right, and making sure he’s ready to go. Once he comes back, he stays back. He’s in it for the rest of the year, so those are the most important things.”

Authentic Jacob Markstrom Jersey

TORONTO — Jacob Markstrom(Jacob Markstrom Jersey) made 27 saves in place of ill star Henrik Lundqvist, and Gabriel Landeskog and Victor Hedman scored second-period goals to help Sweden beat Russia 2-1 on Sunday in their World Cup of Hockey opener.

Alex Ovechkin scored for Russia, and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 27 shots in the Group B game.

Ovechkin thought he tied it with 7 seconds left, but officials waved it off, ruling the puck went off Ovechkin’s glove and in.

Lundqvist was a late scratch due to an illness, forcing Markstrom to start.

The Russians tested Markstrom early as Vladimir Tarasenko one-timed a shot off Evgeni Malkin’s faceoff win, but Markstrom was able to get his left pad on it and steer it aside just 30 seconds into the game.

Moments later, Tarasenko hit Markstrom in the mask with a shot that the Vancouver goalie was able to shake off.

Landeskog got Sweden on the board with a power-play goal, one-timing Erik Karlsson’s pass over Bobrovsky’s blocker at 10:41 of the second period. Less than 2 minutes later, Hedman one-timed Carl Hagelin’s feed glove-side past Bobrovsky.

Ovechkin scored with 33 seconds left in the third, putting a wrist shot from the point off the post and past a screened Markstrom.

Russia returns to action Monday night against Team North America. The Swedes play Finland on Tuesday.

Elite C.J. Spiller Jersey

The New Orleans Saints have cut ties with another expensive free-agent miss, releasing running back C.J. Spiller(C.J. Spiller Jersey) on Monday.

Spiller, 29, signed a four-year, $16 million deal with the Saints last year. But they wound up paying him $9 million for a total of 13 games played.

Spiller was inactive in Week 1, with Saints coach Sean Payton explaining that it was a game-plan decision to go with veteran runner-receiver Travaris Cadet ahead of him. A league source confirmed that it wasn’t health-related.

“It was just one of these games where we knew Cadet was gonna have a big role in his position. And it really just came down to the numbers,” Payton said. “It’s really one of the challenges with six running backs on the roster. So a lot of it was for our game plan.”

Spiller’s run in New Orleans was extremely disappointing. He had just 112 rushing yards, 239 receiving yards and two touchdowns last year while struggling to overcome a minor knee surgery he underwent during training camp. Eventually, the Saints shelved him for the final two weeks and replaced him with Cadet.

Things seemed to be going better this year, with Payton saying Spiller showed progress and some “juice” during training camp and the preseason. And the Saints seemed committed to him after allowing his base salary of $1.7 million to become fully guaranteed in March.

However, it seemed inevitable that the Saints wouldn’t keep six running backs all year — and Cadet seems to be their change-of-pace back of choice.

Cadet had three catches for 14 yards and a touchdown on seven targets Sunday and added one carry for 1 yard.

The Saints now have more than $40 million in “dead money” counting against their salary cap — by far the most in the NFL (the Cleveland Browns are second at $28.1 million, according to ESPN Stats and Information). That number includes their other big free-agent signing from 2015 — cornerback Brandon Browner, among several others.

Spiller will count $4.5 million against this year’s cap — then another $2.5 million next year.

Spiller was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2010 at No. 9 overall and made the Pro Bowl with a breakout year in 2012 (1,244 rushing yards, 459 receiving yards). He has 3,433 rushing yards, 1,434 receiving yards and 22 total touchdowns (including kick returns) in his career.

Authentic Pedro Strop Jersey

CHICAGO — Cubs reliever Pedro Strop(Pedro Strop Jersey) suffered a setback in his rehab from a knee injury as an MRI revealed the righty strained his right groin during workouts on Wednesday.

Strop originally was to be out four to six weeks after tearing the meniscus in his left knee last month, though the Cubs had thought he might be back on the shorter end of that diagnosis. Now the team says he’ll be out a full six weeks with a mid-September return. It still gives Strop plenty of time to prepare for the postseason.

The Cubs got better news in the form of John Lackey, who threw off the Wrigley Field mound on Thursday as he readies for a return from the disabled list due to shoulder soreness.

“I feel fine,” Lackey said afterward. “I feel like I can pitch in a game.”

If Lackey feels OK on Friday morning, he’ll be slated to start Sunday’s game against the San Francisco Giants.

There’s also good news for setup man Hector Rondon (triceps), who is headed to Triple-A Iowa for rehab outings on Saturday and Monday before he’s expected to be activated as well.

The Cubs called up some reinforcements as rosters expanded on Thursday. Reliever Joe Smith (hamstring) and outfielder Chris Coghlan (rib contusion) were technically activated from the disabled list, as both were on rehab assignments at Triple-A, and righty Jake Buchanan was called up along with them.

Buchanan, 26, was 12-8 with a 4.34 ERA in 24 appearances for Iowa including 22 starts. He gives the bullpen some “length,” as manager Joe Maddon has used his top relievers often during the Cubs’ 22-6 August run.

“When you’re winning often, you’re going to use up a lot of good bullpen,” Maddon said Thursday. “It’s part of the way this thing flows.”

Lackey is expected to be a playoff starter for the Cubs while Strop and Rondon are their seventh- and eighth-inning bullpen arms in front of closer Aroldis Chapman.