Brian Roberts hasn’t played for the Orioles in more than a year following multiple concussions, but the veteran second baseman started a minor-league rehab assignment last week and is now aiming to be back in the majors at some point next month.
Roberts went 2-for-9 with two doubles and two walks in five games at Double-A, and Brittany Ghroli of MLB.com reports that his rehab stint will move to Single-A for the next two games.
After that Triple-A would be next, with manager Buck Showalter indicating that the Orioles would ask Roberts to spend a week there before making a decision on his status because “we talked about wanting him to really finish up competition-wise in Triple-A.”
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.