Timetable for Brian Roberts’ return from concussion unclear

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Brian Roberts hasn’t played since May 16 of last season, but there’s still no timetable for his return from multiple concussions.

Roberts has progressed to taking batting practice and fielding ground balls, and Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that the second baseman now has more good days than bad days, but that means he’s still experiencing symptoms at least occasionally.

“I don’t know what the next step is,” Roberts admitted to Encina. “When we get to point where I guess I feel like I’m to the point where the next step is we’ll figure out what the next step is.”

Robert Andino is expected to serve as the Orioles’ starting second baseman if Roberts isn’t ready for Opening Day, but that’s a huge dropoff even if Andino is able to duplicate what was for him a career-year in 2011.

Roberts played just 59 and 39 games during the past two seasons, but prior to that averaged 152 games per season from 2004-2009 while hitting .290 with a .365 on-base percentage and .803 OPS. During that six-year span he ranked seventh among all second basemen in OPS and also stole 212 bases.

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.