Ryan Braun hits three homers then settles for a triple

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Ryan Braun hit three homers and then tripled at Petco Park in leading the Brewers to an 8-3 win over the Padres on Monday.

Braun struggled this spring while dealing with a possible 50-game steroids suspension that was later overturned, but he’s been locked in since Opening Day. He’s now tied for second in the NL in homers with seven. Only Matt Kemp, who was the runner up to Braun in the MVP balloting last year, tops that total, though he has 12 already.

With the three homers and a triple, Braun became the first major leaguer to amass 15 total bases in a game since Boston’s Dustin Pedroia against the Rockies on June 24, 2010. The previous National Leaguer to do it was Albert Pujols on July 20, 2004. Curtis Granderson just missed with his three-homer game earlier this season; he also had two singles, giving him 14 total bases in the contest.

Braun also tied his career high with six RBI in the contest. It was his first career three-homer game. The Brewers actually had three three-homer games last year: one each from Corey Hart, Casey McGehee and Prince Fielder. Going into 2011, they hadn’t had one since 2003.

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.