LaRue likely to start Cardinals' season opener

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yadi larue headshot.pngCardinals catcher Yadier Molina has been on the shelf for a little over a week with an oblique injury.  He hasn’t totally been ruled out for Opening Day, and the team’s recent run of roster decisions suggest that management does not believe the injury to be serious. 

The Cards are bringing only two catchers to Cincinnati, where they open the 2010 season against the Reds: Molina and 36-year-old Jason LaRue.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the backup, LaRue, is likely to start Monday’s opener.  He went 9-for-36 this spring with one home run and six RBI in 18 Grapefruit League games and is a .232/.316/.398 career hitter over more than 2,500 major league at-bats.  As a backup to the defensively stellar Molina, he sees very little time behind the plate during the regular 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.