Carl Crawford diagnosed with UCL sprain in elbow

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UPDATE: Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald was told by a Red Sox source that the team expects Crawford back by the All-Star break. In fact, they believe a return in June isn’t out of the question. Of course, this is assuming his UCL responds to treatment.

9:37 PM: Via Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, the Red Sox have announced that Crawford was diagnosed with an ulnar collateral ligament sprain in his left elbow. A “conservative protocol treatment” was recommended, which means he will not undergo surgery, but he was given a platelet rich plasma injection and has been shut down from baseball activity.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe originally reported that Crawford could miss three months, but the team’s announcement did not include a timetable. It’s safe to say they’ll be without him for a while, though.

6:43 PM: Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com was told that Crawford has an injury to the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow which will not require surgery. The exact timetable is uncertain, but the Red Sox are hopeful that he could return sooner than three months.

6:10 PM: We don’t have much to chew on right now, but Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is reporting that it “looks like” Carl Crawford will miss three months. Ouch.

Crawford was scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews this week in regard to his ailing left elbow, so it’s safe to say he didn’t get very good news. The Red Sox are expected to issue a statement shortly with further information.

Jacoby Ellsbury is already sidelined until at least June due to a subluxed right shoulder, so this is yet another tough blow for the Red Sox offense. Marlon Byrd, Cody Ross and Ryan Sweeney will continue to hold things down in the outfield for now.

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.