Angels shortstop Erick Aybar had been aiming to return from the disabled list on Thursday — the first day he is eligible. But that has now been ruled out.
According to beat writer Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Aybar has reported to extended spring training in Tempe, Arizona but is not yet appearing in games. So he won’t be activated this week, and probably isn’t going to be back in his normal playing shape until the middle of next week.
Aybar, 29, was batting .321/.333/.393 with one RBI and four runs scored in 31 plate appearances before suffering a severe heel contusion on April 9. Brendan Harris has been filling in at short for Anaheim.
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.