Alexi Ogando’s struggles could get him bumped from the Rangers’ rotation

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Alexi Ogando was slated for the Rangers’ rotation, but after back-to-back poor outings–including an early exit yesterday that had coaches worried he might be injured–T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that the right-hander could get bumped to the bullpen.

Ogando has served in a setup role for the Rangers previously with a lot of success, but Sullivan writes that this time he might be used in a long relief role because his spring training performance has been so shaky.

His appearance yesterday was particularly odd because Ogando took the mound in the fourth inning and threw a few warmup pitches, only to have the trainer, pitching coach, and manager Ron Washington come out to the mound. He was removed from the game amid worries that he had a blister, but afterward said that wasn’t the case.

So what was the deal, then? Washington told Sullivan: “We messed up and forgot to tell him he wasn’t supposed to go back out there. Blame it on me.”

Seems like kind of a flimsy explanation given the presence of the trainer on the mound, but either way things aren’t going well for Ogando right now.

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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.