Yankees claim Carlos Pena off revocable waivers from Cubs

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Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Yankees have claimed Carlos Pena off recovable waivers, which means they have 48 hours to work out a potential trade with the Cubs.

Earlier today, before the Yankees were identified as the claiming team, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com speculated that the Cubs trading Pena was unlikely because he’s owed $5 million in salary that’s deferred until January and they might want to re-sign him for 2012.

As usual Pena has been productive despite a low batting average and tons of strikeouts, posting a .342 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage thanks to 23 homers, 19 doubles, and 74 walks in 124 games. He’s also a good defender at first base, although with Mark Teixeira not going anywhere the Yankees would be acquiring Pena to serve as their primary designated hitter.

Andruw Jones, Jorge Posada, and Eric Chavez have been splitting DH duties recently and overall this season the Yankees have gotten a .755 OPS out of the position to rank eighth among AL teams. Pena has topped a .755 OPS in eight of his nine full seasons, with last year’s .732 mark being the lone exception.

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.