Ryan Braun on PED charge: “I’m completely innocent”

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There’s been so much blatant lying on the topic of steroid usage in baseball that fans have rightfully developed trust issues with the game’s athletes.

But Ryan Braun deserves to be heard on the charge that he was using synthetic testosterone — confirmed by an early-October positive test, then denied by a negative test a few weeks later.

Braun is allowed to tell his side of the story. And he’s doing just that in text message form with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Tom Haudricourt.

Here’s a text from the 2011 NL MVP that Haudricourt received around 10:40 p.m. CT Saturday night:

“I can’t wait to get that opportunity,” said Braun. “This is all B.S. I am completely innocent.”

Braun couldn’t offer much more because he’s in arbitration with Major League Baseball on the charge and the 50-game suspension that goes along with it. A mediator will decide his fate at some point soon.

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.