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.
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.