Nats lose Morgan to broken hand

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Well, that’s one of the risks that comes with stealing bases. Nyjer Morgan broke his left hand on a head-first slide on Thursday and will likely miss at least a month, if not the rest of the season.
Morgan, who had excelled as the Nationals’ center fielder since coming over from the Pirates, was hurt on his 59th attempt and 42nd successful steal of the year. He was hitting .351/.393/.435 as a Nat and .307/.369/.388 overall for the year. The hot streak may not have held up, but he was making a big difference with his defense. The stats said he was the game’s best left fielder during his time with the Pirates, and those numbers mostly held up after moving back to center in D.C.
With Morgan out of the mix, the Nationals will probably use a lot of Willie Harris in center the rest of the way, making him a nice asset in NL-only leagues. They’d prefer to keep Elijah Dukes in a corner. They may be willing to give Justin Maxwell an opportunity, though he’s been far from dominant while hitting .247/.346/.404 for Triple-A Syracuse. The toolsy 25-year-old has pretty good power and plenty of speed — he’s 34-for-42 stealing bases in the minors — but injuries have robbed him of much-needed development time and he’s fanned 133 times in 108 games this season.

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.

Rockies sign 30-year lease to stay in Coors Field

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Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.

As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.

Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”

The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.