Tebow loving life as baseball player

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Tim Tebow made his first spring training start this year, struck out against reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and then singled off Washington’s Erick Fedde in a 2-1 loss to by a New York Mets’ split squad to the Nationals on Friday.

Batting fourth as the designated hitter, Tebow struck out on three pitches leading off the second inning.

“He’s nasty,” Tebow said. “The first pitch was a back-door slider, a really good pitch. The second pitch was a fastball, and I felt I put a really good swing on it.”

The 30-year-old former NFL quarterback singled on a first-pitch fastball in the fourth for his first hit of spring training.

“It was a little bit outside, but I wanted to stay on it and hit it where it’s pitched. It felt good,” Tebow said.

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner reached on a fielding error by first baseman Jose Marmolejos in the seventh and is hitting .143 (1 for 7) in his second big league spring training. He sprained an ankle while stepping on a sprinkler, causing the Mets not to play him in the field.

“”People get angry for some reason. I don’t know why they get angry,” Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman said. “He didn’t sign himself to come play. It’s not his fault someone gave him a chance. He seems like a nice guy. It seems kind of silly to get upset over someone playing baseball. I’ve got no problem with it.”

Tebow split last season between Columbia in the South Atlantic League and St. Lucie in the Florida State League.

“I get butterflies in almost everything I do. I just care so much about it — I’m passionate. I love it. I enjoy it,” Tebow said. “If I didn’t have that, I probably wouldn’t be playing.”