Joakim Soria throws for first time since elbow surgery

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From Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star comes word that Royals right-hander Joakim Soria played catch on Tuesday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in April.

Soria made 25 throws from a distance of 45 feet and reported no issues during or after the short workout.

He is hoping to be ready for the start of the 2013 season, but that would require a speedier recovery than normal. What’s more likely is that he will be cleared to return at some point in late April or early May.

Jonathan Broxton served as the Royals’ primary closer this summer before being traded to the Reds. Greg Holland then took over, flashing signs of dominance. Soria carries an $8 million club option for next season.

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.