Untimely development here for the Rays, who have a half-game hold on the top spot in the crowded and ever-changing American League Wild Card race.
Evan Longoria has been scratched from the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Orioles due to flu-like symptoms, as first reported by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkin says Longoria “hasn’t been feeling well for a few days,” which hopefully means that he is about done battling this illness.
Kelly Johnson will start at third place in his place.
Longoria, 27, is hitting .263/.340/.485 with 29 home runs, 36 doubles and 77 RBI in 152 games this season for the Rays.
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.