Ubaldo Jimenez was scheduled to make his Cactus League debut during Friday’s split-squad game against the Angels, but was delayed nearly two hours because of a traffic jam following a fatal bus crash that killed more than six people and left more than 15 people injured in an area just south of Tempe. Jimenez elected to drive to the game, rather than take the bus with the rest of the team.
“I didn’t move forever, about three hours,” said Jimenez, who
nonetheless managed to maintain his smile. “I left around 9 and got
here at 1:30, after the game started. I feel good about how I threw. I
was throwing strikes. Even the walks were on close pitches.”
Talking about baseball almost seems silly at this point, but Jimenez eventually entered the game in fourth inning and struck out the side. He gave up four runs on three singles and two walks in his second inning of work. Jimenez, who just turned 26 in January, was 15-12 with a 3.47 ERA and 1.23 WHIP last season.
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.
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.