MLB attendance is up seven percent over last year

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The season continues to be a good one at the box office for Major League Baseball, as the league just announced that attendance is up seven percent over last year through the same number of games.

That’s an average of 2000 extra fans a game over last season. Overall, 21 of 30 teams have seen increases. Thirteen teams have already broke one million in attendance.

Guesses as to the reasons: more teams in contention, including teams that have not been as good in the past finally giving their fans a reason to show up.  Also: way fewer rainouts this year, meaning way fewer sparsely-attended makeup games and better gameday walkup traffic due to the better weather.

Nathan Eovaldi to make 2018 debut for Rays soon

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Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.

Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.

When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.

The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.