Bummer: longtime minor leaguer and former feel-good story Max St. Pierre suspended for a “drug of abuse”

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Max St. Pierre made the news back in September 2010 for finally getting a major league callup — to the Tigers — after 14 years in the minors. Pierre’s journey had been a rocky one, going from catcher to an ill-fated attempt by the Brewers to change him into a pitcher, and then back to catcher again.

Even rockier was a troubled history with alcohol abuse. Which makes the news of his suspension today all the more unfortunate:

Free agent Minor League catcher Max St. Pierre has received a 50-game suspension after a second violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for a drug of abuse. The suspension of St. Pierre will be effective immediately upon his signing with another Major League organization.

Based on the fact that he is a free agent, it’s quite likely that he was done playing anyway. If, with baseball now gone, he slipped back into alcohol abuse or onto something else, that would be sad indeed.

(h/t to Allison for reminding me of St. Pierre’s long minor league odyssey)

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.