The Braves are in Queens, New York tonight to open up a three-game series against the Mets. Catcher Evan Gattis isn’t starting, but figures to be used as a pinch-hitter late in the game if the Braves are in need of some offense, as the 26-year-old came up with two big home runs recently: on Saturday, Gattis broke an eighth-inning 0-0 tie with a two-run home run off of Kenley Jansen; on Tuesday, he tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth with a solo home run off of Glen Perkins; and on Wednesday, he boosted the Braves’ lead to 8-0 with a fourth inning grand slam off of Vance Worley.
It wasn’t always easy. As MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports, the last time Gattis was in New York, he was out of baseball and begging for food and money.
When Gattis attempted to get money from an ATM machine to buy a hot dog on the fourth day of that five-day trip, he learned he was penniless. His account showed a negative $17, and he was not scheduled to fly back home out of John F. Kennedy International Airport until the next night.
“I was like, ‘What am I going to do?'” Gattis said. “I just lost it. I was so beaten. I was bawling, crying. I was trying to sell clothes. I was like, ‘You want a bag of clothes so I can get on a train to get to JFK?'”
Things have turned around for Gattis, who spent this afternoon at MLB’s Fan Cave in New York dressed up as a polar bear for some reason.
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.
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.