Jack Clark and Kevin Slaten lash out at the St. Louis sports radio station that fired them

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Before we move along to the next chapter of this running drama, let’s review a timeline of events:

  • Jack Clark, a player for the Giants, Cardinals, Red Sox, Padres and Yankees over an 18-year major league career, claims on his CBS Sports 920 radio show in St. Louis that Albert Pujols’ former trainer used to inject the slugger with steroids. Clark says the trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, offered up this info while Mihlfeld and Clark were both on staff with the Dodgers in the late 1990s.
  • Mihlfeld denies Clark’s story in a statement to HBT: “I haven’t even talked to Jack Clark in close to 10 years. His statements are simply not true. I have known Albert Pujols since he was 18 years old and he would never use illegal drugs in any way. I would bet my life on it and probably drop dead on the spot if I found out he has. … Albert and myself have been accused of doing something we didn’t do.”
  • Pujols threatens legal action against Clark and the CBS Sports 920 ownership, insideSTL Enterprises. Clark and his partner Kevin Slaten are fired from the radio station, which had only been on air a week.
  • Clark stands by his claim that Mihlfeld acknowledged injecting Pujols with steroids.

Slaten is now planning to sue insideSTL, writes Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Slaten said he got the termination call from insideSTL president Tim McKernan around midnight.

“I said ‘What?,”’ Slaten said. “He said, ‘We have to do what’s in the best interest of the company.’ I said, ‘You tell me how firing me is in the best interest of the company when you and (WGNU boss Burt Kaufman) said (earlier) that I did nothing wrong.”

Slaten said McKernan told him, “‘I know that, but everybody associated with the show has to go.

“I said, ‘Did you fire the producer? Did you fire yourself, you’re the one who paired us, did you fire yourself?’

There’s plenty more inside-radio stuff in that article. Clark is also upset about the sudden firing:

“I’m still trying to get my knife out of my back from the radio station, the way that was handled,” Clark told the Post-Dispatch. “They did not allow us to go ahead and talk about it, talk to callers. They made us lie and say the phones weren’t working.”

McKernan and insideSTL issued this short written statement on Saturday afternoon: “insideSTL Enterprises, LLC and all related companies would like to make clear that Jack Clark is no longer associated with the company.  Mr. Clark was never employed by insideSTL but rather was an independent contractor.  Any opinions, views or statements made by him strictly reflect his own personal views and do not reflect the views of insideSTL.  insideSTL Enterprises, LLC and any related companies have never asserted and do not assert that Albert Pujols has ever used steroids or any other type of performing enhancing drug.”

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.