Josh Beckett exits spring start early with a sore thumb

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Josh Beckett apparently got his thumb caught in a door about two weeks ago. He tried to pitch through it in his start against the Cubs on Friday afternoon but he could only make it through three of his four scheduled innings, reports Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. The Dodgers are calling it a thumb contusion.

Beckett did pitch reasonably well regardless, allowing only one hit and walking two while striking out one. It’s not yet known if he will make his next scheduled start.

Paul Maholm is the odd man out in the rotation but if Beckett needs to miss time, he would get the call from the Dodgers.

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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.