Carlos Beltran out of lineup with knee injury, but available off bench

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Carlos Beltran had hoped to be back in the Cardinals’ lineup after leaving last night’s game with a strained left knee, but manager Mike Matheny just told reporters that the veteran right fielder is “too sore” to start Game 4 against the Giants.

Matheny did say that Beltran will be available off the bench as a pinch-hitter and even at less than full strength the guy with the highest OPS in playoff history is a nice little weapon to have for the late innings.

Matt Carpenter replaced Beltran in right field last night, but today he’ll start at first base with Allen Craig shifting to right field.

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.