Brian Roberts won’t be ready to come off DL when eligible

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Initial reports had Brian Roberts potentially returning from the disabled list after just two weeks, but “two weeks” and “ruptured knee tendon” never seemed to match up and sure enough he’ll be out longer.

His injury is now being called merely a “right hamstring strain” and Roberts is eligible to come off the DL on April 19, but manager Buck Showalter told reporters that “is going to be a challenge for him.”

Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes that Roberts “is walking without a limp but has yet to resume baseball activities” eight days after suffering the injury sliding into second base against the Rays. Ryan Flaherty will continue to be the primary fill-in at second base.

Minor League Baseball had its worst attendance in 14 years

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Baseball American reports today that total attendance at minor league baseball games reached a 14-year low in 2018. Total attendance was 40,450,337. That’s a drop of 1,382,027 fans compared to last season.

Around a third of that drop is attributable to fewer scheduled games but, as Baseball America notes, even when you go to average attendance per game, there was a sharp drop off this season. BA suggests that this represents a leveling off after over a decade’s worth of large increases in minor league attendance. Which sound pretty plausible. Overall, attendance numbers are still massively above where they were 15-20 years ago, so this seems more like a correction than a real problem. The BA article goes into some good analysis of the decline.

All of that said, revenues are up for the minors, in large part because of merchandise sales and because minor league ballparks have a lot more amenities and better concessions than they used to have and fans are willing to pay for them.