Back problems have plagued Dan Haren for much of the season. After taking a little break from the Angels’ rotation he turned in consecutive Quality Starts, but now a new back injury is expected to keep him from making his scheduled start tomorrow against the Rangers.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that Haren “tweaked a muscle in the right side of his back” last week, which is different than the lower-back tightness that required a disabled list stint previously.
Either way Haren likely won’t face Texas and is once again a big question mark for the stretch run. He had a five-start stretch in which he allowed 27 runs in 27 innings and served up nine homers before finally admitting that the back problems were a big factor and if that’s a possibility again it doesn’t really help Haren or the Angels to keep trotting him out there.
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.