A.J. Hinch lands in Padres front office

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A.J. Hinch, fired as the Diamondbacks’ manager earlier this season, has taken a job as San Diego’s vice president of professional scouting, according to the team’s media notes.
Hinch, 36, may have flopped as a manager, but he was very well regarded in Arizona’s front office before former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes took a chance and put him on the field. The former major league catcher became Arizona’s director of player development in Aug. 2006, which wasn’t even a year after he took off his shin guards for good. He spent 2 1/2 years in that role before replacing Bob Melvin in May 2009. The Diamondbacks fired him after he went 89-123 in 212 games through this July.
The move from Arizona to San Diego comes at an interesting time, as the Diamondbacks are believed to be very interested in hiring longtime Padres GM Kevin Towers as their new general manager.

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.