Shin-Soo Choo aiming to return to Tribe in less than 15 days

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Shin-Soo Choo’s recovery from a fractured left thumb — and the subsequent surgery to repair that fracture — continues to run smoothly.

The Indians right fielder took between 50 and 60 swings in a cage this afternoon and is scheduled to participate in batting practice with his Tribe teammates Thursday at Boston’s Fenway Park.

And the news gets better.

According to beat writer Nick Camino of WTAM 1100, Indians manager Manny Acta told a radio program this evening that Choo is expected to return to the major league lineup in under 15 days.

The 29-year-old native of South Korea still has to make it through a lengthy minor league rehab assignment without experiencing a setback, but all of the early signs are good. Choo was batting just .244/.333/.353 with five home runs and 11 stolen bases in 306 plate appearances before the injury, but he still has an impressive .853 career OPS and could help the Indians turn it around in the race for the American League Central crown.

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.