Dan Haren likely to miss start with more back problems

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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.

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.