Justin Verlander leaves start with cracked finger skin

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Justin Verlander exited this afternoon’s start against the Royals after seven innings with what the Tigers announced as cracked skin on his right thumb.

Presumably “cracked skin” is better than a blister, although I’m not smart enough to necessarily know the difference in terms of a recovery timetable and either way it could be an issue for his next start.

For now he’s being listed as day-to-day. Before leaving Verlander allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits, striking out four and walking one on 96 pitches. He ERA this season stands at 1.95.

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.