Johan Santana goes two innings in rehab outing

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Mets left-hander Johan Santana tried to complete a minor league rehab assignment back in July, but he quickly felt lingering discomfort in his surgically-repaired left shoulder and was shut down for a big chunk of August. Now he’s back at it.

According to David Lennon of New York’s Newsday, Santana took a big step in the right direction Saturday, tossing two innings in an early-afternoon rehab game at Single-A St. Lucie. He allowed three hits and a run, but the veteran southpaw reported no issues with his shoulder and is likely to make an appearance of similar length next Friday. It was his first live game since July 28.

Santana is still optimistic about returning to the major leagues in late September for a couple of relief appearances, but he’ll have to avoid setbacks and continue making progress to reach that goal.

Santana, 32, had a 2.98 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 144/55 K/BB ratio in 29 starts for the Mets last season.

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.