Pirates manager Clint Hurdle benches Ronny Cedeno … again

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Ronny Cedeno has been benched by manager Clint Hurdle for the second time this season after the Pirates shortstop attempted to bunt with the bases loaded last night before eventually grounding into a double play.

Hurdle declined to specifically attach the benching to that plate appearance, but Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review notes that he grinned when asked about it and instead replied: “The manager picked a day off for Ronny. It’s a good day to regain focus.”

In between Cedeno’s benchings Hurdle also benched Andrew McCutchen for a lack of hustle last month. McCutchen is deserving of an All-Star spot, whereas Cedeno is hitting .232 with a .615 OPS for his sixth straight season with a sub-.700 mark.

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.