Jason Grilli’s transformation from journeyman middle reliever to stud closer will be put on hold for at least two weeks, as the Pirates placed him on the disabled list with a strained forearm.
Grilli left last night’s game in the ninth inning accompanied by a trainer and in obvious pain, and he’s apparently on his way to Pittsburgh to be examined further.
Grilli made his first All-Star team at age 36 and has saved a league-leading 30 games with a 2.34 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 42 innings after coming into the season with five career saves. Mark Melancon, who also made his first All-Star team in a setup role, will take over ninth-inning duties.
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.