Brad Lidge aiming to begin rehab assignment Monday

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Brad Lidge, who has been on the disabled list all season with elbow and shoulder problems, threw a 35-pitch bullpen session yesterday and is scheduled to do so again tomorrow, at which point the Phillies may clear him to begin a minor-league rehab assignment.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the rehab stint could start as soon as Monday, but notes that the Phillies may ask Lidge to make 8-12 appearances before rejoining the bullpen.

That seems like an awful lot of work in the minors unless he looks terrible early on and for his part Lidge told Salisbury that he’s aiming to return “sometime between the All-Star break and the end of July.”

Charlie Manuel has stated previously that Ryan Madson would remain the closer even after Lidge is back, but now Madson is also on the DL with a hand injury and those plans could potentially change if Lidge beats him back from the DL and thrives right away. In the meantime Antonio Bastardo will continue to fill in as closer.

Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

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Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.