Matt Kemp could begin rehab assignment this week

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Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp says his ankle is pain-free, meaning he could begin a rehab assignment this week, tweets Dylan Hernandez. It is the next step towards rejoining the Dodger lineup. Kemp injured his ankle sliding into home plate in the ninth inning against the Nationals on July 21. It was his first game after being activated from the 15-day-disabled list due to a shoulder injury.

While the Dodgers have flourished without Kemp, they would still welcome him back with open arms as center field is not the ideal position for Andre Ethier. However, Kemp’s return would create a logjam in the outfield with Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Ethier, and Kemp.

Manager Don Mattingly says he doesn’t plan to use Kemp on an everyday basis when he returns. Via Hernandez:

“I’ll get him back in the mix, get him comfortable,” Mattingly said. “I’ll do what I did with Carl [Crawford] when he was coming back from his hamstring. He gets a couple days in there, he gets a day off. I’ll be careful with him.”

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.