Jaime Garcia has been cleared to return, so the Cardinals are shifting Joe Kelly to the ‘pen

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Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly has posted a solid 3.41 ERA this season over the first 12 starts of his major league career, serving as a fantastic fill-in for injured lefty Jaime Garcia. But Garcia just wrapped up a rehab assignment Tuesday night at Triple-A Memphis, so Kelly’s run in the rotation is over.

According to FOX Sports Midwest, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny announced to the media a few hours before first pitch Wednesday against the Diamondbacks that Kelly will be moved to the bullpen for the remainder of the 2012 season.

Garcia — out since early June with a strained shoulder — is set to return Sunday to face the Pirates.

Kelly has never been considered an elite prospect, but the 24-year-old certainly displayed some positives in his 68 2/3 innings in the St. Louis rotation and has a chance to play a big role in long relief down the stretch.

The Cardinals enter play Wednesday night with a 63-53 record, ranking third in the National League Central.

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.