MLB bans Jim Joyce from umpiring games involving Armando Galarraga’s team

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It’s a moot point for now after the Diamondbacks demoted Armando Galarraga to Triple-A, but Amy K. Nelson of ESPN.com reports that MLB has banned Jim Joyce from umpiring “any series in which Galarraga’s team plays.”

Joyce’s botched call ruining Galarraga’s perfect game last season forever linked them in history and they’ve since become business partners by co-authoring a book, so MLB’s ruling certainly makes sense.

Nelson reports that Joyce was replaced by another umpire when his crew worked a Diamondbacks series in early May, noting the similar arrangement with umpire Jim Wolf and his brother, Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf. Wolf is allowed to umpire games involving his brother’s team, but is not allowed to call balls and strikes when his brother is pitching.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the “imperfect game” and Galarraga will spend it at Triple-A after posting a 5.91 ERA in eight starts for the Diamondbacks. Overall since the game he’s 5-12 with a 5.10 ERA in 29 starts.

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.