Dodgers make Tommy Lasorda honorary coach on birthday

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Tommy Lasorda’s 84th birthday is Thursday and the Hall of Famer will celebrate by serving as an honorary Dodgers coach against the rival Giants.

Lasorda, who managed the Dodgers from 1976 to 1996, told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that he was thrilled to get the invite from current manager Don Mattingly:

I am so deeply honored and grateful that Don would ask me to do this. I loved every minute of managing during my 20 seasons with the Dodgers, and it is always outstanding to put on the Dodger uniform.

Hopefully it goes better than the time Lasorda was the NL’s third base coach during the 2001 All-Star game. Incidentally, I saw Lasorda on last night’s episode of “Hell’s Kitchen” on FOX and his 10-second appearance predictably involved a conversation about pasta. Type casting!

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.