Before he stepped onto the field for his Eastern League All-Star appearance Wednesday, Tim Tebow admitted he was already preparing mentally for Double-A Binghamton's first series out of the break against Akron. It seems the extra homework paid off.
The Mets outfielder cracked his sixth homer of the season and drove in a pair of runs on a three-hit night before the Rumble Ponies fell to the RubberDucks, 8-7, in 11 innings on Friday at Canal Park. Tebow has hit safely in nine consecutive contests while bringing his slash line to .276/.341/.404 through 78 games.
Video: Tebow's sixth home run of the year for Binghamton
"I wish there [were] more highs than lows, but there were a bunch of things I've learned and some learned the hard way and some I've felt good about," he told reporters at the All-Star Game in Trenton, New Jersey. "It's been a process that I've enjoyed the whole time."
In his first at-bat Friday night against starter Aaron Civale, Tebow got ahead of the right-hander, 2-1, before lifting a fly ball over the fence in right. He got another crack at the Indians' No. 9 prospect in the fourth, sending a line drive back through the middle for a single.
The former Heisman Trophy winner bounced out to first in the sixth and grounded out again to the right side in the eighth. With two outs in the 10th, he knocked a grounder up the middle to score Mets No. 8 prospect Tomas Nido with the go-ahead run.
Gameday box score
A difficult first two months of the season dipped his average to .218, but the 30-year-old hit at a .301 clip in June, earning his first All-Star nod. Tebow is 14-for-35 (.400) during the streak, his longest since he collected exactly one hit in 12 consecutive games last season for Class A Advanced St. Lucie.
"It's just little things at the plate," he said of the on-the-fly adjustments he's learned to make this season. "Hand positions, relaxing, getting your front foot down, little things in the game. ... Different fundamentals that have been able to help me as well, plus seeing more pitches and being able to work on my game plan going up to the plate."
Video: Tebow's go-ahead hit for Binghamton
The former NFL quarterback compiled a .226/.309/.347 slash line with eight homers and 52 RBIs across two levels in his first season as a professional baseball player. He said he worked with hitting coaches during the offseason and even trained side-by-side with Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
"I didn't want to bother him, but yeah, I was right behind him a lot of times, too," the two-time college football national champion said. "A lot of drills he would do, I would try to pick up and do, too. Not all of them were fits because we're all different. But I would watch a lot of what he does, and we would be out in the outfield shagging and I would talk a lot about hitting as well."
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound University of Florida product doubled in four at-bats at the All-Star Game. What may be key to ensuring that the midseason classic won't be his last one is the second-half consistency like he displayed Friday night.
"You still have to have that long-term goal [of reaching the Majors], but that can't be an everyday thought process," Tebow said Wednesday. "That can't be something that you think about because you have to focus on this day. What can I do? How can I improve? What can I do to get better? What can I do in the cage?
"Soft toss, long toss, training, whatever it is, that has to be your focus to truly improve. There are a lot of people who focus on the 'one day,' but I want to be someone who focuses on 'this day.'"
Civale allowed four runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and a walk while striking out four over 4 2/3 innings. The 23-year old has a 2.45 ERA over 69 2/3 innings this season.