Angels setup man Kevin Jepsen says demotion to Triple-A is “difficult to swallow”

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Kevin Jepsen has been one of the Angels’ primary setup men since 2009 and posted a 3.97 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 59 innings last season, so he was understandably caught off guard when they demoted him to Triple-A yesterday:

You think? Yeah, it caught me by surprise. This is always difficult to swallow.

Mike Scioscia talked about Jepsen “getting back to basics, throwing his good, live fastball with command,” but in reality his having a minor-league option remaining likely played a bigger factor in his demotion than allowing three runs in four innings to begin the year.

After all, as Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times points out Jason Bulger has walked eight batters in five innings without anywhere near Jepsen’s track record of success and he remains in the Angels’ bullpen because they can’t send him to Triple-A without clearing waivers first.

Michael Kohn, who had a ton of sucess after debuting in July last season, joins Jepsen in heading to Triple-A, as the Angels created one roster spot for 21-year-old Tyler Chatwood sliding into the rotation and another for veteran reliever Scott Downs coming off the disabled list.

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.