Kendrys Morales “more and more likely” to begin year on DL

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Initially there was talk that Kendrys Morales would be limited to designated hitter duties early on as he recovers from last season’s broken leg, but now Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times writes that “it appears more and more likely Morales won’t be ready for the opener” at all.

If he does play in Game 1 it’ll be at DH, but DiGiovanna reports that he’s still running at less than 100 percent and hasn’t been cleared for game action.

Here’s what manager Mike Scioscia told DiGiovanna about Morales’ current status:

We’re going to know in a couple of days whether he’s game ready. Everything is contingent on how he comes out of these workouts. Hopefully, he’ll be comfortable enough to get some at-bats in a game soon. But he’ll be ready when he’s ready. We can’t rush this. We’re seeing good signs but not enough to make a determination today.

Morales beginning the season on the disabled list would all but guarantee spring training standout Mark Trumbo an Opening Day roster spot and might also mean Brandon Wood makes the team.

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.