Mets get catcher Josh Thole back after concussion

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Josh Thole is back from the disabled list, returning to the Mets after missing the past 22 games with a concussion from a home plate collision on May 7.

To make room for Thole on the roster the Mets demoted Rob Johnson to Triple-A, choosing to stick with Mike Nickeas as their backup despite his lowly .169 batting average in 50 career games.

Prior to the concussion Thole hit .284 with a .356 on-base percentage and .370 slugging percentage in 26 games to essentially duplicate his solid career numbers. He lacks power, but few catchers can match his on-base skills and Thole has also thrown out 26 percent of steal attempts.

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.