Big Papi’s first pinch-hit homer since 2003 wins game for Red Sox

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Hitting for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, David Ortiz delivered his first pinch-hit homer since April 27, 2003 to break a 3-3 tie in the top of the ninth and lead the Red Sox to a 4-3 win over the Tigers in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader.

Ortiz’s previous pinch-hit homer came in his first month with the Red Sox.  Hitting for Jeremy Giambi in that one, he gave the Red Sox a lead in the top of the 14th in a game against the Angels, making a winner of Ramiro Mendoza.

It was also Ortiz’s second homer in two career at-bats against Tigers closer Jose Valverde.  He hit a grand slam the previous time he faced him.

The Red Sox, who also got homered from Mike Cameron and Dustin Pedroia in the contest, won their fourth straight and will go for a four-game sweep in Detroit when they play the second game of a doubleheader tonight.

 

 

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.