Manny Ramirez will have to produce in minors before call-up

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Manny Ramirez is eligible to return from his 50-game suspension on May 30, but manager Bob Melvin indicated yesterday that the A’s aren’t committed to adding him then unless he actually starts hitting in the minors first.

Ramirez is currently on a 10-game rehab stint at Triple-A, but so far the 39-year-old hasn’t shown many signs of life by going 3-for-12 (.250) with zero extra-base hits in four games and he also sat out a game with wrist soreness.

Melvin told Jane Lee of MLB.com that the A’s would like to see Ramirez get around 40 at-bats in the minors before making a decision on his status, adding: “We’re not locked into the 30th.”

If/when Ramirez does join the A’s it will be as a designated hitter and their DHs have combined to bat just .209 with three homers and a .639 OPS this season, so in theory at least there should be plenty of room for him in the lineup instead of Daric Barton or Kila Ka’aihue.

In practice, however, Ramirez sat out essentially all of last season and hasn’t been productive since mid-2010, so whether or not he can still be an impact bat is definitely unclear. The return date for his suspension is just part of the equation.

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.