Carlos Zambrano wins for first time since late June

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Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano has struggled this season in more ways than one.  Through 70 innings — 11 starts, 16 relief appearances — he has posted a 5.27 ERA, 1.77 WHIP and 38 walks against 63 strikeouts.  Oh, and there was that little incident back in June that cost him a month.

Perhaps some progress was made on Saturday.  Big Z limited the division rival Cardinals to two earned runs over 5.2 innings on a steamy day at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, allowing his Cubs to grab a 3-2 victory.  He struck out three batters and issued only two walks.

As the Associated Press notes, it was his first victory since June 20.  It was also his first sign of life since his team-issued suspension.

Zambrano is owed $18 million annually through 2014, which will make a trade or any type of move extremely difficult.  Essentially, the Cubbies are stuck with him.  So they might as well throw him into the fire and see if he can settle in as a reliable third or fourth starter.  Hey, every good team has a few innings eaters.

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.