GM says Jose Bautista likely to play third base in 2011

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All eyes will be on Jose Bautista’s performance at the plate this year as he tries to follow up an out of nowhere 54-homer season, but Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos indicated yesterday that he’ll likely also be playing third base full time after being mostly a right fielder in 2010.

Anthopoulos told Shi Davidi of the Canadian Press that the Blue Jays’ plans for Bautista could change if they sign or trade for another third baseman yet this winter, as his defensive versatility allows them to widen the search for another bat, but short of that they’re “comfortable” playing him full time at third base.

Bautista made 113 starts in right field and 45 starts at third base last season, but has played nearly 3,000 career innings at the hot corner and was a full-time third baseman in 2007 and most of 2008. Assuming he’s a third baseman the Blue Jays’ projected starting outfielders are Vernon Wells, Travis Snider, and Rajai Davis, so Anthopoulos would presumably still like to acquire someone who could push Davis into a part-time role.

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.