Jon Lester will stay in Red Sox rotation to face Yankees

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Following his latest ugly outing Sunday there was speculation that Boston would remove Jon Lester from the rotation, but instead the Red Sox will keep him on schedule to start again Saturday and simply adjust his between-starts routine a bit.

In what manager Bobby Valentine called “a nice proactive plan” Lester will prepare for Saturday’s start by throwing a simulated game Wednesday instead of his usual bullpen session.

Not only was Sunday’s start the worst of Lester’s career with 11 runs in four innings, he’s allowed 22 runs in 12.1 innings over his last three starts and now has a 5.46 ERA in 120 innings overall.

Valentine told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that Lester insists he “feels great and is throwing the ball as well as he’s thrown the ball in a couple of years.” Saturday will be a helluva test for that, as Lester will face the Yankees, in New York.

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.