2011 No. 1 pick Gerrit Cole makes pro debut in Arizona Fall League

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Gerrit Cole, who was selected No. 1 overall by the Pirates in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, made his professional debut in the Arizona Fall League yesterday.

The results aren’t all that important, but Cole gave up three runs on three hits over 2 1/3 innings while striking out two and walking one. The 21-year-old right-hander tossed two scoreless innings before running into trouble in the third. According to Ashley Marshall of MLB.com, he reportedly topped out at 100 mph with his fastball and threw 35 out of 52 pitches for strikes.

Here’s a link to some video of his start, courtesy of MLBProspectPortal.com.

Cole received an $8 million signing bonus in August as part of a minor league contract with the Pirates, surpassing the $7.5 million Stephen Strasburg received in a major league contract with the Nationals in 2009. The UCLA product will make his minor league debut next season.

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.