Astros prospect suspended 25 games for unauthorized possession of a syringe

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MLB announced that four minor leaguers have been suspended for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, but one of the suspensions caught my eye.

Astros right-hander Euris Quezada, who’d been pitching at low Single-A, was suspended 25 games for what Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle reports as “unauthorized possession of a syringe.”

The other three minor leaguers–Luis Flores of the Cubs, Kennys Vargas of the Twins, and free agent Emanuel Ramirez–each received 50-game suspensions for testing positive for actual banned substances, but apparently players also have to get approval to possess and use a syringe too.

In fact, Quezada is the third minor leaguer this season to be suspended 25 games for syringe possesion, as free agent Robinson Fabian and Hector Taveras of the Royals also got the same ban back in April.

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.