Johnny "Kung Fu" Cueto suspended seven games

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MLB has suspended Johnny Cueto seven games for kicking Chris Carpenter and Jason LaRue during Tuesday’s benches-clearing altercation between the Cardinals and Reds.
LaRue took the worst of it, suffering a concussion and needing stitches from Cueto kicking him in the head and face with his cleats.
He’ll likely end up missing more games than Cueto, who at most could miss one start and may end up simply pushing his next outing back a day if he appeals the suspension.
Tony La Russa and Dusty Baker were also suspended two games apiece for their roles in the incident, with Carpenter, Yadier Molina, Brandon Phillips, and Russ Springer all being fined.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.