Shannon Stone’s son to throw out first pitch at Rangers game

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Cooper Stone, the 6-year-old son of Rangers fan Shannon Stone who died after falling at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on July 7, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 1 of the ALDS tonight.

Cooper Stone was at the game with his father when Shannon Stone fell 20 feet while reaching over the left field railing for a ball thrown by Josh Hamilton. Hamilton will be behind the plate for the first pitch tonight.

Hopefully the Rangers’ good luck charm last postseason, Little Ron Washington, will also be at the game. Seems like mini-Ron and Cooper Stone could be pals.

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.