Sure, the Diamondbacks lost both games to the Dodgers during the season-opening series in Australia, but Arizona center fielder A.J. Pollock still had a productive time in Sydney.
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com writes that Pollock proposed to his girlfriend, who’s from Australia, “while at the Bondi Beach cliff walk.”
Gilbert notes that they met back in college at Notre Dame, where Pollock was on the baseball team and she was on the lacrosse team. Everyone say it with me now: Aww.
On a related note: After a decade as a reluctant BlackBerry user I finally got an iPhone this week. I joined Tinder, because whatever, and probably my No. 1 complaint about it so far is the lack of Australian lacrosse players to choose from.
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.