The “A-Rod’s cousin-gate” scandal is over

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This morning the Daily News reported that Major League Baseball was looking into the fact that Alex Rodriguez’s PED-connected cousin, Yuri Sucart, was travelling with A-Rod and staying at the team hotel.  Everything is fine with that, however, says MLB’s Executive Vice-President Rob Manfred, who spoke with ESPN’s Amy K. Nelson:

“Our position is, we told the Yankees, they agreed, that (he) should not be allowed in any non-public areas; clubhouses, any team charters, buses. And it’s our understanding that that prohibition has been respected. We’ve talked to the Yankees and they’ve assured us the prohibition has been respected.”

So it appears that our long — well, 9-10 hour — national nightmare is over.  Resume normal activities, citizen.

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.