Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones hit a solo homer in the first inning Thursday against the White Sox, giving him 30 homers and 100 RBI on the season.
Three innings later, he reached another little milestone: he walked for the 20th time in 567 at-bats.
Barring a stunning turn of events, Jones is about to become the 57th player (37th different) in major league history to hit 30 homers and finish with more homers than walks. Adrian Beltre was the last to do it, finishing with 32 homers and 25 walks for the Rangers in 2011. Alfonso Soriano has done it three times, most recently in 2007. The only other active player to have done it was Ryan Braun in his rookie year (34 HR, 29 BB). Juan Gonzalez did it four times.
The lack of walks certainly hasn’t stopped Jones from being a very valuable player these last couple of years. He’s currently batting .295, so his OBP (.326 at the moment) isn’t too bad. This is his second straight 30-homer season after he hit 32 last year, and he’s well on his way to scoring 100 runs again (92 right now).
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.