Tim Tebow has shown signs of life as a baseball player in his second year in the Mets’ minor-league system. The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner had improved significantly with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, batting .273 with six home runs through 84 games and even earning some only-slightly-dubious Eastern League All-Star honors in the process.
But he won’t get a chance to build on that in August and September. A broken hamate bone will likely end the burly left fielder’s season and extinguish any slight chance he’d had at a late-season promotion to AAA or higher.
Mets’ minor-league OF Tim Tebow broke the hamate bone in his right hand swinging the bat this weekend and is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday and is now likely out for the season, per MLB source. #sticktobasketball— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 23, 2018
What does this mean for Tebow?
Tebow could have been a late-season callup thanks to the Mets’ inept 2018. New York currently sits in last place in the NL East — behind even the fire sale Miami Marlins — with a 40-56 record. They just traded away their top reliever for pennies on the dollar. One of their starting pitchers is currently on the disabled list with hand, foot, and mouth disease.
So, huh, nothing the Mets do is going to ruin the integrity of a season that’s already in freefall. If Tebow kept plugging — and he was batting .297 in his last 10 games before the injury — there’s a non-negligible chance a franchise struggling for positive headlines could have called him up to struggle for 10 games to close out a meaningless year. Except that last-ditch option is off the table.
The good news for Tebow is that his injury is a fairly common one in MLB circles. According to former Marlins infielder Jeff Baker, it’s one of the better broken bones to deal with in the hand/wrist area:
“I’ve seen guys coming back anywhere from 2 1/2 weeks to six weeks,” Baker said. “I had surgery. The biggest thing is you have the wound heal. After that, it’s a pain tolerance thing, and you’re good to go.”
”You have to have it removed,” Baker said. “They take it out. There is no strengthening, no therapy. I don’t say this lightly, but if you’re going to break something in your hand, the hamate is going to be the way to go.”
The bone rests at the base of the hand — right where Tebow’s bottom hand would be while holding a bat. He’ll likely have the bone removed before undergoing a four-to-six week recovery.
Giancarlo Stanton, notably, suffered a broken hamate back in 2015, ending his season after 74 games. Though he’d struggle in 2016, he’d return in a major way by 2017 when he won NL MVP honors and smashed 59 home runs.
So that’s the upper bound for Tebow’s return. The lower one is getting called up by the Mets next September and immediately getting rabies.