Avert your eyes, people. It sounds like Hideki Matsui may play in the outfield next week.
And as new A’s skipper Bob Melvin told Jane Lee and Tom Green of MLB.com, the main objective here isn’t just to make everyone feel really uncomfortable, but to keep Matsui in the lineup during interleague play.
“I want to keep him current and I want to keep him getting current at-bats and consistent at-bats because he’s done very well to this point,” Melvin said. “There’s a good chance you could see him get a start in the outfield, maybe once a series, then the other games doing the pinch-hitting thing. I’ve talked to him about it and he’s comfortable with it.”
The only catch is that if Matsui does make a start or two against the Mets and Phillies next week, it will be in right field, not his customary left field. Matsui has only played seven games in right field during his major league career and hasn’t made an appearance there since 2008 as a member of the Yankees.
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.