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Cochran-Gill vs. Tebow

By Michael Butler

Trey Cochran-Gill, the Tallassee native, has pitched against some of the best players in baseball. A matchup against Tim Tebow, might be among the most notable though.

Tebow, the former Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, announced his intentions to play baseball this past fall. He was picked up by the New York Mets organization. His first at-bat, not against Cochran-Gill, was a homerun.

Somewhat like the Michael Jordan project, some believe Tebow is more of a publicity stunt to sell jerseys and tickets. Cochran-Gill thinks Tebow could make it.

"Baseball's all about repitition," said Cochran-Gill. "(Tebow) turned it around at the end of fall. He's a hard worker. In a few more years, he may have a shot."

Now about that at-bat. Cochran-Gill was on the mound facing Tebow in the Arizona Fall League .

"He's a big guy in the box," Cochran-Gill said. "I started him off with a fast ball up for a ball, a fast ball away that he swung at, a fast ball inside for a strike and then a slider that he swung at."

Four pitches and a strikeout.

Cochran-Gill threw 73.1 innings in 2016 with Midland, a AA affiliate of the Oakland A's in the Texas League. He recorded 58 strikeouts and 25 walks with a 3.07 ERA.

"That was pretty cool," Cochran-Gill said of the Tebow encounter. "It was always tons of fans around him trying to talk about football."

Like Tebow, Cochran-Gill was a high school quarterback. In fact, he was playing the position at the prep level when Tebow was giving SEC defenses fits in college.

"When I was in high school, I heard about his work ethic. It was always fun watching him play. I wouldn't say I modeled myself after him, but he was definitely someone I looked up to."

Now, Tebow is probably looking up to him with that same respect on the baseball diamond.

Cochran-Gill will report for spring training in Mesa, Ariz. in the new year with his first workout scheduled for Feb. 15.

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