Meanwhile, in spring training

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A lot of spring training games are played with minor league-level umpire staffing. Specifically: three umpires. A home plate ump, one at first and one at third, with the third base ump moving to cover second when a runner is on base.

And if you lose one of the umpires due to injury? Well, you get this:

Yep, that’s an umpire calling balls and strikes from behind the mound in today’s Brewers-Angels game in Maryvale after the home plate umpire was injured. Here’s what it looks like on TV.

You don’t see that every day.

Real games soon, please?

UPDATE: OK, apparently it only lasted for four batters, as a replacement up was called in. Shame, that. We used the mound ump in little league. You’d think the big boys could do it for a while.

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.