Johan Santana hurls three scoreless innings in rehab debut

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Mets left-hander Johan Santana made his first minor league rehab start on Thursday evening at High-A St. Lucie. And the results were mostly positive.

According to David Lennon of Newsday, Santana allowed just two hits and no runs over three strong innings. He threw 33 pitches, 26 of which were strikes, fanning three batters without issuing a walk.

Santana told reporters after the start that he felt strong while on the mound and had no problems at all with his surgically-repaired shoulder. But some concern remains within the Mets’ organization.

Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record spoke Thursday night to Mets rehab coordinator Randy Niemann, who opined that Santana is a very different pitcher than he was before the surgery. Niemann also suggested that the left-hander’s throwing shoulder is not physically ready to handle major league competition.

But perhaps that will change with time.

Santana is likely to spend close to a month in the minors and probably won’t be activated until late August.

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.