Brewers starter Zack Greinke took his first big step toward returning from a rib fracture on Thursday afternoon at Miller Park.
According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, the right-hander stepped atop a mound and fired off around 30 pitches, reporting no abnormal pain or discomfort in the area of his cracked rib.
The Brewers are probably going to ask Greinke to throw bullpen sessions and simulated games over the next 10-14 days before clearing him for a minor league rehab assignment.
“He’s been really throwing the ball well,” said Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke. “Once his arm is built up and strong, then you can push him.”
The hope is that Greinke will be ready to make regular major league starts by the first week of May.
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.