Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang will enter an alcohol treatment program following his drunk driving arrest in December of last year. Kang’s agent, Alan Nero, said the program had been recommended to the 29-year-old following a joint panel evaluation.
Kang was arrested in South Korea after crashing his car while intoxicated. It was his third DUI since 2009. Brink notes that while neither MLB nor the Pirates have issued a formal punishment for the infielder yet, he was removed from South Korea’s World Baseball Classic roster and Seoul police were reportedly seeking an indictment against him in January.
According to stipulations set forth in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, participation in an alcohol treatment program could help ease whatever punishment Kang faces in 2017. It’s not clear yet whether the arrest will affect his visa eligibility when he tries to return for the 2017 season, though Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington expects that Kang will report to spring training later this month.
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.