Tim Tebow got a good idea of where his nascent baseball career stands when he faced Rick Porcello, the Boston Red Sox’ American League Cy Young award winner in a game Wednesday afternoon at the New York Mets’ ballpark in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Batting eighth as the designated hitter in his Grapefruit League debut, Tebow had yet to face major league pitching in a game setting and figured to get one or two at-bats against Porcello.

In his first time up in the third inning, Tebow struck out looking on four pitches, with one strike a mighty swing and miss.

After the strikeout, Tebow turned and gave the umpire a look.

Tebow’s second time at the plate, this time against Noe Ramirez, was a little better. He made contact with the ball, but the grounder led to a double play. With the bases loaded and no outs, though, Tebow’s hit did drive in a runner to score. Perhaps that assistance to the Mets’ offense caused the crowd at First Data Field to give the former Heisman winner an ovation, but it likely had more to do with his ongoing popularity in many parts of Florida.

Tebow managed to reach base in his third at-bat, but that was the result of getting hit by a pitch from Boston’s Brian Johnson, a fellow former Gator. Tebow then got doubled off of first on a sharp liner to second.

Another Red Sox pitcher, Brandon Workman, struck Tebow out on three pitches in his final at-bat, leaving him o-for-3 with two K’s in his first spring-training game action. The 29-year-old, trying to complete an improbable transition from the NFL to MLB, is expected to start the season in the minors, although his age — or star power — could give the Mets reason to put him on a relatively accelerated developmental track.

“I think I learned a lot of things,” Tebow said of Wednesday’s experience (via ESPN). “Just getting in there and seeing pitches for the first time, competing. I mean, I felt OK, put some good swings when I swung. You just learn. It was the first day for me, getting a chance to compete, and I’ll learn a lot from it.”

“I watched him take a round or two of BP,” Red Sox Manager John Farrell said. “I don’t know what it plays like at game speed.”

Not everyone has had a charitable attitude toward Tebow’s quest to play baseball, a game he quit 12 years ago to focus on football, but Farrell isn’t among them.

“It says he’s not afraid of failure and I think that’s great for any athlete,” Farrell said. “Athletes are all going to become vulnerable at some point and for a guy who’s been such high-profile in another sport to say, ‘You know what? Hey, I’m willing to take a run at this,’ I think it’s a pretty cool thing. We’ll see how it plays out, but when you look at the raw power in BP it’s pretty evident. Not to mention, when you’re doing something else in another sport, it says you have some pretty good hand-eye coordination.”

“He’s obviously been the talk of the town lately and guys were just pretty astonished, actually,” Ramirez said of Tebow. “He’s got some pretty good pop. The ball comes off his bat pretty well, so obviously it was a show. He’s a ballplayer.”