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Cole Hamels scratched from Thursday’s start due to neck stiffness

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Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake announced that starter Cole Hamels has been scratched from Thursday night’s start against the White Sox due to neck stiffness. Doug Fister will start in his place. The Rangers haven’t announced who will start on Friday, when Fister had been scheduled to start.

Hamels, 34, has compiled a 3.48 ERA with a 57/21 K/BB ratio in 51 2/3 innings so far this season. He had his best start of the season last Friday when he tossed six scoreless, one-hit innings against the Astros, outdueling Justin Verlander in the process.

Fister, 34, has also been solid for the Rangers this year, putting up a 4.06 ERA with a 29/15 K/BB ratio in 37 2/3 innings.

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.