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Tim Tebow will be at spring training with Mets
Sports in Brief

In this March 13, 2017, file photo, New York Mets' Tim Tebow (15) takes batting practice before a spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Tebow will attend major league spring training with the Mets. The 30-year-old outfielder was among nine spring training invitees announced by the team Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. (John Bazemore/AP, File)

In this March 13, 2017, file photo, New York Mets' Tim Tebow (15) takes batting practice before a spring training baseball game against the Miami Marlins, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Tebow will attend major league spring training with the Mets. The 30-year-old outfielder was among nine spring training invitees announced by the team Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. (John Bazemore/AP, File)

NEW YORK — Tim Tebow will be at spring training with the New York Mets. The 30-year-old outfielder was among nine spring training invitees announced by the team Friday.

The former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback is preparing for his second professional baseball season. He hit .226 with eight homers, 52 RBIs and 126 strikeouts in 126 games last year at Class A with Columbia in the South Atlantic League and Port St. Lucie in the Florida State League.

Tebow was 4 for 27 (.148) with no extra-base hits, one walk and eight strikeouts in nine spring training games for the Mets last year.

New York also invited first baseman Peter Alonso, infielder David Thompson, outfielder Kevin Kaczmarski, catcher Patrick Mazeika, left-hander P.J. Conlon and right-handers Drew Smith, Corey Taylor and Adonis Uceta.

Illinois hires Arizona’s Rod Smith as offensive coordinator

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Illinois has hired Arizona assistant Rod Smith as its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Smith spent six years with the Wildcats and has been a coach for 22 years, focusing on the offensive side of the ball.

He replaces Garrick McGee, who was fired last month after the Illini averaged just 19.7 points and 315.1 yards per game, finishing 2-10 and 0-9 in the Big Ten. Illinois started three different quarterbacks who combined for only eight passing touchdowns and 19 interceptions. The team ended the season last in conference with just 21 total offensive touchdowns.

Last season, Arizona averaged 41.3 points (fifth nationally), 309.3 rushing yards, 180.2 passing yards and 489.5 total yards (12th nationally) per game. Wildcat quarterback Khalil Tate rushed for 1,411 yards (9.2 yards per carry), while completing 62 percent of his passes for 1,591 passing yards with 14 touchdowns.

Smith’s hire is pending approval by the Illinois Board of Trustees. The hire was announced Friday.

Stanford linebacker Ryan Beecher says he has lymphoma

STANFORD, Calif. — Stanford junior inside linebacker Ryan Beecher has announced he is receiving treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but will remain enrolled in classes and looks forward to making a full recovery. He also hopes to contribute again to the Cardinal football team.

The school released his statement Friday with no additional details. Beecher appeared in 13 games last season and made three tackles for the Cardinal, who lost to USC in the Pac-12 championship game and fell to TCU in the Alamo Bowl.

Beecher says: “With the help and support of my family, friends and teammates, I remain inspired to once again contribute to the Cardinal football team.”

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