Geovany Soto left last night’s game with a strained groin and the Cubs have placed him on the disabled list, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
Soto was off to a slow start before the injury, hitting just .226 with three homers and a .709 OPS through 31 games, but that’s still above-average production for a catcher and his .821 career OPS ranks sixth among all active players with at least 1,000 plate appearances at the position behind only Joe Mauer, Jorge Posada, Brian McCann, Victor Martinez, and Mike Napoli.
And losing Soto is doubly bad for the Cubs because his primary replacement, Koyie Hill, is a career .213 hitter with a .578 OPS in 262 games. Welington Castillo will be called up from Triple-A to take Soto’s roster spot and serve as Hill’s backup, although the 23-year-old has more power potential.
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.
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.