Johnny Cueto officially ruled out for rest of season

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While Johnny Cueto didn’t rule out the possibility of returning last week, he confirmed to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com today that he will indeed miss the rest of the season with a strained right lat muscle.

Cueto was removed from his start last Wednesday against the Cubs due to the injury.

“I’m not throwing. I think I’m done,” Cueto said. “I talked to the doctor and said I wanted to throw. He said, ‘No.’ OK, I won’t. I feel good. No pain, no nothing. I’m great.”

Thanks to a revamped delivery reminiscent of Luis Tiant, the 25-year-old right-hander will finish the season with a 9-5 record to go along with a 2.35 ERA and 104/47 K/BB ratio over 24 starts. However, he only has 156 innings pitched, which means he will not qualify for the ERA title. Dodgers’ southpaw Clayton Kershaw currently ranks first in the NL with a 2.30 ERA over 218 2/3 innings.

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.