Mets promote Tim Tebow to high-A league

The New York Mets are promoting Tim Tebow from low-A ball to St. Lucie of the high-A Florida State League.

He batted .222 with three home runs, 23 RBIs, a .311 on-base percentage and a .340 slugging percentage with 69 strikeouts and 23 walks in 212 at-bats for the Columbia Fireflies. Those aren't numbers that usually lead to a promotion.

"For me, it's not something I have to answer," Tebow said Sunday. "There's a lot of smarter, wiser people than me that make those decisions. I just try and show up and play hard every day."

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson announced the move before the major league club's game in San Francisco.

"It's not like he's tearing up the league, but at the same time, all of the indications are positive in terms of various things we look at: chase rates and exit velocity," Alderson said. "The bottom line is the average isn't there, but he's improving."

"Clearly, it's a step up," Alderson said. "I certainly think he can handle it."

Tebow is happy to be headed back to the Sunshine State, where he has family, friends and many supporters in Florida Gators colors.

"I obviously love Florida, so this is nice," Tebow said. "But the goal and focus is improving as a baseball player."

Tebow certainly looked comfortable in the Fireflies' clubhouse despite his being a decade older than several of his teammates.

"We've said he's just one of 25 guys," Columbia president John Katz said. "At the end of the day, he really is. He wants to succeed. He puts in the work, and hopefully, he'll have continued success at a higher level."

That's Alderson's wish, too, as Tebow continues a journey that he hopes ends at Citi Field in New York.

"I wouldn't say he has excelled" at Columbia, Alderson said. "But at the same time, what he's done there -- given all the circumstances -- justified the promotion."

Tebow, 29, signed with the Mets in September and spent time in the Florida Instructional League and the Arizona Fall League.

He won the Heisman Trophy with the Florida Gators and helped the team win two national championships. He played professionally for the Denver Broncos from 2010 to '11 and led the team to a playoff overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011 before joining the New York Jets in 2012.

Tebow spent time in training camps with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and 2015, respectively, but he never played in the regular season for those teams.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.