Stolen base king Billy Hamilton victim of armed robbery

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Reds prospect Billy Hamilton, also known as the fastest man in baseball, was the victim of an armed robbery yesterday while in Winston Salem for the California League-Carolina League All-Star game.

Hamilton, who’s hitting .322 with an amazing 80 stolen bases in 66 games at high Single-A, was allegedly robbed by two men wielding a hand gun around midnight.

And according to WXII12.com minutes later an umpire working the All-Star game was also robbed on the same street, presumably by the same two men.

If this were a movie, of course, the robber would snatch Hamilton’s wallet and start running, at which point Hamilton would give him like a five-minute head start while twiddling his thumbs. And then chase him down with ease. Unfortunately the presence of a gun–and Hamilton being smarter than a movie script–kind of ruled that out.

Alanis Morissette would call this whole story ironic. Oh, and Hamilton had two stolen bases and was named MVP of the All-Star game. Obviously.

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.