UPDATE: No word on the results of the MRI exam, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Jack Curry of YES Network that Hafner is headed to the disabled list.
12:01 PM: Travis Hafner has really scuffled for a couple of months now and it comes as no surprise that his health could be a big reason for that. According to Kieran Darcy of ESPN New York, Hafner has a sore shoulder and is scheduled to undergo an MRI.
Hafner complained of right shoulder soreness back in mid-May and received a cortisone shot. The 36-year-old previously had right shoulder surgery in 2008 and missed time in 2009 and 2010 due to soreness.
While Hafner batted .318 with six homers and a 1.104 OPS in April, he’s hitting just .167 with six homers and a .535 OPS in 59 games since the start of May. Even if he avoids a stint on the disabled list, his playing time figures to diminish once Curtis Granderson comes off the disabled list, as the newly-acquired Alfonso Soriano figures to get most of the at-bats out of the DH spot.
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.