LOS ANGELES -- Former football star Tim Tebow held a tryout for Major League Baseball teams Tuesday in Los Angeles, showing off a powerful bat and a few areas of needed improvement, as scouts and media diligently chronicled his efforts to make a bold foray into a new sport at age 29.
Tebow got mixed reviews after a workout that lasted more than two hours before an audience of 28 MLB teams at Rod Dedeaux Field on the campus of the University of Southern California. Only the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland Athletics didn't attend.
Tebow's heavily muscled, 255-pound physique and 6.70-ish time in the 60-yard dash were impressive to the scouts. He also showed undeniable hitting ability with a series of line drives and long homers during batting practice.
But Tebow also showed he still needs baseball seasoning when he faced live pitching from former big leaguers David Aardsma and Chad Smith, who repeatedly fooled him with off-speed pitches. Tebow could only grin in frustration after he fanned on a series of changeups and breaking balls.
"There is 100 percent nerves, no question about it," Tebow said. "When you're at the combine or a pro day, you have your body of work for four years, everything that you did, so it's not just that one day. Here, you might have seen me when I was 17, but you haven't seen me since. A lot goes into it, so you'd better show something. A lot of nerves, a lot of pressure, for sure."
Tebow, who is attempting to rekindle a baseball career that ended when he was a high school junior in suburban Jacksonville, Florida, in 2005, told reporters that he's determined to pursue baseball as hard as he can and he's not afraid of failing.
"This isn't about publicity," Tebow said. "It's definitely not about money. I took a pay cut to do this. For me, you pursue what you love regardless of what else happens. If you fail or fall flat on your face, and that's the worst thing that can happen, it's OK. When did pursuing what you love become such a bad thing? I'll make all the sacrifices to be the best I can."
Aardsma, who pitched to Tebow in a private workout last week, said Tuesday's performance wasn't Tebow's best.
"Today was the worst I've seen him," Aardsma said to the Los Angeles Times. "It looked like he was trying really hard, overswinging a bit. It's what you do when you've got 200 people and cameras everywhere and you're the only guy they're watching."
According to one scout, Tebow showed a below-average 40 grade arm on the 20-80 scouts scale. Tebow caught everything hit to him during shagging, but struggled with his footwork a couple of times.
A few big league teams talked privately with Tebow after the workout, and he seems unlikely to have trouble finding an organization willing to give a chance to a celebrity with clear baseball ability, however rudimentary.
Tebow realizes he is still far from the big leagues, but he hopes to play in the instructional league in Arizona next month before heading into winter league ball, perhaps even in Latin America.
Tebow's pursuit of a baseball career has elicited strong reactions pro and con. Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and outfielder Adam Jones are among those who've made comments or social media posts either poking fun at or disparaging his attempts to play baseball after an 11-year absence from the sport.
Conversely, Aardsma and former big league slugger Gary Sheffield have pronounced themselves pleasantly surprised by Tebow's progress as a hitter.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who teamed with Tebow to bring Florida national football titles in 2006 and 2008, called Tebow an "incredible" high school baseball player whose quest to play the sport professionally should be taken seriously.
"I'm very biased, and everybody knows that, but don't count him out," Meyer told ESPN.com Monday.
Tebow has been working out since late May with former big league catcher Chad Moeller, who runs a baseball school in Scottsdale, Arizona. Moeller said he has spent about 80 hours with Tebow working on hitting and fielding and talking baseball over the past three months.
"From what I've seen and have continued to see, people will be surprised," Moeller said before the workout. "They'll be more than surprised."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.