Ian Kinsler hoping to rejoin Rangers next week

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Ian Kinsler is expected to test his high-ankle sprain by doing some running today and if all goes well should be cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment later this week. Kinsler has been sidelined since injuring his ankle in the middle of spring training, but the Rangers have gotten surprisingly good production at second base in his absence, with Joaquin Arias going 13-for-32 (.406) in eight starts.
That’s not sustainable, of course, particularly since Arias has yet to draw a walk, has managed just one extra-base hit, and carries a career .674 OPS in 349 games at Triple-A. In other words, the Rangers have been fortunate to get a nice fluke performance from Kinsler’s primary fill-in, but getting the All-Star second baseman back as soon as possible is key and it sounds like he could be ready to come off the disabled list as soon as next week.
“We don’t want him station-to-station,” manager Ron Washington told Jeff Wilson of the Dallas Morning News. “We want Kinsler. We want him to be able to come here and put his stamp on us by doing everything that he does. And if he can run, he’s ready to go. We’ll find out Tuesday if this all this work is beneficial. If all goes well, we’ll try to get him out of here.”
Kinsler debuted in 2006 and has hit .279/.350/.477 with an average of 21 homers and 23 steals per season, with his .827 OPS during that four-year span ranking fifth among all second basemen behind only Chase Utley (.931), Dustin Pedroia (.832), Robinson Cano (.831), and Dan Uggla (.830).

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.