Dodgers rule out Andre Ethier for the season with knee injury

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Andre Ethier backtracked a bit from his comments last month suggesting the Dodgers were making him play through a knee injury, but manager Don Mattingly just announced that Ethier has been shut down for the season.

According to Ethier doctors initially told him that playing through the injury wouldn’t make it any worse, but Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that he’s headed for a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews in Alabama.

Perhaps his condition has indeed gotten worse or maybe the Dodgers just realized that pushing an injured player to be in the lineup seems kind of silly when he’s hitting just .252 with two homers and a .672 OPS in 45 games since the All-Star break (although in fairness he’s played well in the brief time since the controversial comments).

Ethier hit .311 with an .846 OPS in the first half, yet will finish this season with the first sub-.800 OPS of his six-year career. He’s under the Dodgers’ control next season in his final year of arbitration eligibility and figures to make at least $11-12 million, so Ethier could find himself on the trading block this winter.

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.