Albert Pujols went eight years between starts at third base before playing there on May 16, but now less than three weeks later he’s back at the hot corner.
Pujols, who went 0-for-4 in that May 16 start, is playing third base and batting third for the Cardinals tonight against Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants.
Lance Berkman takes over for Pujols at first base, which he played for most of the past six seasons before shifting back to the outfield this year, and Jon Jay is in right field.
In between third base starts Pujols hit .269 with two homers and a .745 OPS in 13 games.
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.