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The Yankees played before their smallest crowd in 13 years last night


Last night the Yankees lost to the Toronto Blue Jays. Paid attendance: 25,566.

That’d be fine for some teams — nine teams are averaging less than that per game so far this year — but it was a dubious record for the Yankees. Indeed, it was their smallest home crowd since they moved into the new Yankee Stadium back in 2009 and their smallest crowd overall since 2004.

For the season, the Yankees are averaging 35,588, which is the sixth best in baseball. Last year they were sixth best in baseball for the whole season, averaging 37,819. It’s early in the year and attendance ticks up when the weather gets nicer and school is out, so it’s likely they’re going to do about as well as they did last season. Or better if they continue their recent hot run and contend deeply into the season.

But it does show that a couple of years as only a marginal contender and a lot of new faces causes some people to stay away. In this the Yankees are like every other team, none of which has any guarantee of full or near-full houses. There is only one guarantee: win, and people come.

Chris Sale exits game with hip contusion

Chris Sale
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Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale made a hasty exit from his final Grapefruit League outing on Saturday after sustaining a left hip contusion. He was struck on the leg with a line drive from the Astros’ J.D. Davis in the first inning and immediately collapsed on the mound. He was able to walk off the field without a noticeable limp, however, and later told reporters that the ball struck a nerve and temporarily stunned his leg. As a precautionary move, the Red Sox pulled him after the incident and will have the left-hander undergo X-rays to rule out any further injury to his hip.

This was expected to be Sale’s last start of spring training. Prior to Saturday’s matinee against the Astros, the 28-year-old southpaw made three starts in camp, allowing five runs, one home run, three walks and striking out 18 batters in 14 innings. He’s still on track to start the season for the Red Sox during their road opener against the Rays next Thursday.