Indians’ Carlos Carrasco returns from suspension, gets ejected

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Carlos Carrasco opened the 2013 season serving a six-game suspension he received for intentionally drilling Kansas City’s Billy Butler in 2011. Now he could well be looking at another one after seemingly intentionally drilling Kevin Youkilis following a Robinson Cano homer in the fourth inning Tuesday.

Immediately after Cano drove a ball out to left center to give the Yankees a 7-0 lead, Carrasco hit Youkilis in the shoulder area with a fastball. The Yankees went on to win 14-1, with Cano driving in five runs.

The odd thing  about the ejection was that home-plate umpire Jordan Baker, a newcomer on the scene who umpired his first major league games last June, tossed Carrasco the ball after the HBP, only to eject him afterwards. It still wasn’t clear until after Terry Francona went to get him that Carrasco had been tossed.

After losing out to Scott Kazmir on a rotation spot, Carrasco, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, was originally expected to open this season in the minors. However, the Indians carried him in order to burn off the aforementioned six-game suspension. The Indians were giving him a spot start tonight, and they’re likely to send him to Triple-A tomorrow.

Joining Cano in homering for the Yankees tonight were Ichiro Suzuki, Kevin Youkilis, Lyle Overbay and Brennan Boesch. Brett Gardner finished with four hits.

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.