Wednesday's quick hits – Indians make deals

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– After Matt Lindstrom’s second straight ugly outing Tuesday, it was
determined Wednesday that he had a sprained elbow ligament and would
miss at least six weeks.

Lindstrom, who injured his shoulder in the WBC, has likely been
pitching hurt all season. The results certainly suggest it, not that
they stopped the Marlins from having him pitch in both games of a
doubleheader during May and work on three straight days twice in the
last month. If rehab doesn’t work, Lindstrom is likely looking at Tommy
John surgery. Leo Nunez is going to take over the closer’s role and
should be an upgrade.

– The Indians made a pair of minor deals, shipping first baseman
Michael Aubrey to the Orioles for a player to be named and acquiring
reliever Jose Veras from the Yankees for cash.

Veras had a 3.59 ERA in 57 2/3 innings for the Bombers last season,
but he was at 5.96 this year before getting designated for assignment.
His velocity is down a bit and he’s always had poor command, but he
might be an adequate middle man for a team that could use one.

The Orioles, on the other hand, don’t gain anything by picking up
Aubrey, a 2003 first-round pick who had his potential sapped by
injuries. A singles and doubles hitter, he’s a poor man’s Sean Casey.
The retired Casey, not the one who was a quality regular in his prime.

– Gary Sheffield received a cortisone shot for his sore right knee and won’t start again until at least Friday.

Maybe Sheffield’s body would have held up had the Mets been able to
limit him to a couple of starts in the outfield per week. However, they
can’t be blamed for trying to make him a regular when he was playing so
well and injuries decimated the lineup. Unfortunately, his knee
problems seem destined to put him on the disabled list, though the Mets
say that’s not a consideration right now. Fernando Tatis and Jeremy
Reed stand to pick up more playing time.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.