Jose Fernandez’s attorney says a prior, undetected injury led to his torn UCL

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This is  . . . odd. The Miami Herald is reporting that Jose Fernandez’s attorney released a statement on Friday following Fernandez’s Tommy John surgery in which he claimed that a previous injury, not detected by the Marlins, led to Fernandez’s torn UCL and thus his surgery:

Jose Fernandez’s arm injury was precipitated by a chain reaction of events that began when a line drive struck him in the thigh in his next-to-last game, according to the pitcher’s friend and attorney.

That “prompted a completely unanticipated change in delivery which neither the staff nor his coaches could discern,” culminating in a “traumatic” arm injury when Fernandez pitched next on May 9 in San Diego, said his Tampa-based attorney, Ralph Fernandez, in a statement that was released Friday after the pitcher underwent Tommy John surgery in Los Angeles.

Clark Spencer of the Herald got quotes from Mike Redmond and other Marlins saying that no one noticed anything wrong with Fernandez’s mechanics and that Fernandez did not complain of any other injuries or discomfort. And that, if he had those things, he should have reported it to someone and the team would have dealt with it. Which, to me anyway, sounds pretty darn reasonable.

But put that aside for a second: why on Earth is a player having his lawyer issue statements like this? Statements containing phrasing that sounds like the sort of language lawyers put in complaints and things. Not that Fernandez is going to sue or anything — some lawyers can’t help themselves and always speak as if they’re drafting complaints — but it’s just really unusual to see this kind of stuff.

The lawyer says he released the statement “in order to reduce speculation.” In doing so, I believe he has achieved the exact opposite result.

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.