It’s just a paper move, but Zach Britton was sent down to the minors Thursday after limiting the White Sox to one run in eight innings and striking out a career-high 10 batters in Baltimore’s victory.
Britton improved to 4-1 on the season. He had never fanned more than seven in 35 career starts before striking out 10 today.
Sending Britton down allows the Orioles to squeeze the newly signed Randy Wolf onto the roster prior to the Sept. 1 deadline, a move that will make him eligible for the postseason. Britton could well be in the Orioles’ postseason plans, too, depending on how he performs in September. He’s allowed a total of three runs in 21 2/3 innings in winning his last three starts.
Baltimore took three out of four games from the White Sox to move to 72-58 for the season. The Orioles are three games behind the AL East-leading Yankees entering this weekend’s series in the Bronx.
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.