Carl Crawford to undergo Tommy John surgery Thursday

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With the player obviously in favor of undergoing the procedure now, the Red Sox have decided to relent: Carl Crawford will have Tommy John surgery Thursday and sit out the rest of the season.

Crawford missed the first half of the season rehabbing his wrist and elbow, but he returned last month to hit .282/.306/.479 in 117 at-bats, which should at least help alleviate concerns that he’s going to be a complete bust in a Red Sox uniform after an extremely disappointing first year in Boston.

Still, he couldn’t have helped his standing with the fanbase by making it known that he wanted surgery now. Even had Crawford waited until after the season, he most likely would have been ready for Opening Day 2013. Given that he’s a left fielder, it’s not as though he’s forced to unleash several hard throws per game. Actually playing in games will be less intensive than much of his rehab is going to be.

With Crawford out, Scott Podsednik likely will get most of the starts in left field for now. Daniel Nava should return within a week to share time there.

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.