UPDATE: Red Sox place Daisuke Matsuzaka on disabled list

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UPDATE: It’s official. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports that Matsuzaka has been placed on the disabled list. Alfredo Aceves will take his place in the starting rotation Saturday against the Cubs.

6:50 PM: Daisuke Matsuzaka was sent for an MRI on his elbow Tuesday, the Boston Globe reports, and is expected to go on the disabled list after giving up five runs and walking seven in 4 1/3 innings in an ugly outing against the Orioles on Monday night.

Matsuzaka had two brilliant starts for the Red Sox last month, allowing two hits over 15 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays and Angels, before leaving his April 29 outing with elbow tightness.  The Red Sox said that  was strictly a precaution, but he hasn’t pitched well in his three outing since, including his relief loss in extra innings against the Angels on May 4.

The Red Sox aren’t at all sure whether it’s really an injury that has him down, though.

“It has not been ready yet. We don’t really have much to discuss,” Terry Francona said of the MRI. “We’re talking about his elbow. Whether it’s sore or whether he’s afraid to get to a point where it will get sore, we’re trying to figure it out.”

The Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber pointed out that it may be something else entirely, tweeting the following:

For what it’s worth, pitching coach Curt Young believes Daisuke Matsuzaka’s issues last night were a product of illness, not injury

But whether he’s truly hurt or not, it looks like Dice-K will join John Lackey on the DL for Boston.   Reliever Michael Bowden is expected to be added to the roster in his place.

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.