A-Rod speaks to kids about drug use? Fabulous idea!

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Class, settle down. We have a guest speaker here today:

New York Yankees’ slugger Alex Rodriguez made an unexpected visit to 500 students at a Baltimore County school to deliver an anti-steroid message Tuesday, months after admitting publicly that he used performance-enhancing drugs earlier in his career.

At the time of his admission, Rodriguez vowed to turn his past transgressions into a positive lesson for young athletes, and he appears to be attempting to uphold that promise by discreetly speaking to select students this season. It’s part of the agreement, however, that the talks not be covered by the news media.

After previously addressing groups in New York City and Texas, he presented his anti-steroids message at Milford Mill Academy on Tuesday, hours before Rodriguez’s Yankees played the Orioles at Camden Yards.

In his speech he said that it felt “pretty darn good and liberating” to finally be telling the truth, and that doing so “is very important to me professionally and spiritually.”

Imagine how good and liberated he’d feel if he told the complete truth:

“Kids, steroid use did no harm to, and probably helped me build a career that will earn me more than a quarter billion dollars. While, occasionally, people write mean things about me, I have suffered zero in the way of actual punishment for it. What’s more, my fame and celebrity now has me bedding Hollywood starlets.

“But totally, dudes, just say no.  Thanks. Are there cookies? I was told there would be cookies.”

Call me crazy, but maybe schools should have people whose lives were actually harmed by drugs to come in and speak to the kids.

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.