Victorino expects to return from tight calf on Tuesday

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The Phillies got some good news Sunday on center fielder Shane Victorino, the morning after he made an early exit from Saturday’s game because of tightness in his left calf.

According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, Victorino is aiming to return to the Phils’ starting lineup for Tuesday’s series-opening tilt against the Mets. The Phillies have an off day on Monday.

Michael Martinez will make his major league debut on Sunday afternoon against the Astros. The 28-year-old is leading off and playing center field.

“I still feel it in the certain area,” Victorino said Sunday. “My strength is there. We’re just trying to find out what’s causing that sensation. I’m not alarmed. None of us are alarmed.”

Victorino, 30, is 1-for-6 with two RBI so far this season. He was caught on his only stolen base attempt.

Minor League Baseball had its worst attendance in 14 years

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Baseball American reports today that total attendance at minor league baseball games reached a 14-year low in 2018. Total attendance was 40,450,337. That’s a drop of 1,382,027 fans compared to last season.

Around a third of that drop is attributable to fewer scheduled games but, as Baseball America notes, even when you go to average attendance per game, there was a sharp drop off this season. BA suggests that this represents a leveling off after over a decade’s worth of large increases in minor league attendance. Which sound pretty plausible. Overall, attendance numbers are still massively above where they were 15-20 years ago, so this seems more like a correction than a real problem. The BA article goes into some good analysis of the decline.

All of that said, revenues are up for the minors, in large part because of merchandise sales and because minor league ballparks have a lot more amenities and better concessions than they used to have and fans are willing to pay for them.