April 7, 2017 / 2:29 AM / 2 years ago

Tebow homers in first at-bat in minor league debut

Apr 6, 2017; Columbia, SC, USA; Columbia Fireflies outfielder Tim Tebow (15) watches his hit on a home run during the second inning against the Augusta GreenJackets at Spirit Communications Park. Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow answered some skeptics about his foray into professional baseball by hitting a two-run homer in his first at-bat of the season on Thursday for the Class A Columbia Fireflies.

With a runner on third and two outs in the second inning, Tebow sent a long fly to left-center that appeared to hit the wall for a double. But the ball actually hit the railing above the yellow line, allowing Tebow to break into a home run trot.

The left-handed hitting Tebow, 29, in his minor league debut, knocked the home run off Augusta GreenJackets lefty Domenic Mazza at Spirit Communications Park in Columbia, South Carolina.

A former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback as the top college football player while at the University of Florida, Tebow signed a $100,000 minor league contract with the New York Mets last September in what some regarded as a publicity stunt.

Tebow, who had not played organized baseball since high school, reported to the team’s Instructional League team in Florida and followed that warmup with a stint in the Arizona Fall League.

The former quarterback played briefly with the Mets team during Spring Training this year at Port St. Lucie, Florida, before settling into the minor league camp.

Tebow, considered a massive long-shot to make a major league roster, batted .148 during spring training with eight strikeouts in 27 at-bats.

Tebow was a first-round NFL draft pick in 2010, but his pro career never quite got out of first gear, and he found himself out of the league after making just 16 starts — 14 for the Denver Broncos and two for the New York Jets.

Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Andrew Both

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