Brandon Phillips could return to action over the weekend

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Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips was removed from Tuesday’s game against the Padres because of a left calf strain and later told reporters that he was going to be out of commission “a while.”

But there is suddenly reason for optimism.

According to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Reds manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday night that Phillips may be able to to return to the lineup at some point during this weekend’s three-game series against the second-place Pirates. He has already been ruled out for Thursday’s finale with the Padres.

Phillips, 31, is batting .296/.336/.457 with 13 home runs, 19 doubles, eight stolen bases and 62 RBI through 401 plate appearances this season for first-place Cincy. The Reds have won 11 of their last 12 games.

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.