Webb finally seeing 'light at end of the tunnel'

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webb stretching.jpgDiamondbacks starter Brandon Webb hasn’t appeared in a major league game since September of 2009 due to ongoing shoulder troubles and isn’t close to returning this season.  But he did finally make a bit of progress on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

Webb fired a 30-pitch bullpen session at the sudden request of Arizona pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. and told reporters afterward that he is finally beginning to see “a little light at the end of the tunnel.”  It was the first time he had toed a pitching rubber in close to three months and he felt no pain or discomfort.

The 31-year-old right-hander owns a 3.27 career ERA, a 1.24 career WHIP and an 87-62 lifetime record.  To say he’s been successful through his first seven professional seasons would be an understatement, but many are beginning to compare his injury-related fall from grace to that of Mark Mulder’s.  Let’s hope that kind of talk turns out to be premature.  Mulder, 32, is currently without a team.

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.