Alex Rodriguez “optimistic” about case against MLB

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Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez made an appearance yesterday at a charity event hosted by Red Sox slugger David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic. His contentious arbitration hearing against MLB came to a close last month, so he’s currently waiting on independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz to decide whether his 211-game suspension will be upheld. With a ruling expected early next month, Rodriguez told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that he’s “optimistic” that the process will have a favorable outcome.

“I feel good. I have limits what I can talk about. I look forward to Horowitz making a decision and putting this behind me and getting back to hitting in the middle of the lineup,” Rodriguez said.

“I’m optimistic, hopefully. It’s been a very tough several months. Very tough year. I’m optimistic that [a decision] will come soon,” he said. “We can get it behind us and take all the stuff off the back pages and focus on playing baseball and all great things that are happening with the game.

“Make a decision, whatever happens, let’s move forward.”

Rodriguez scored a key victory this week when a judge ruled that his P.R. guy won’t have to testify against him — at least for now — so he has reason to feel pretty good at the moment. Still, A-Rod and his lawyers have already made it clear that he’s prepared to take MLB to federal court if Horowitz doesn’t rule in his favor.

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.