Manny Machado cleared to begin playing in rehab games

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Manny Machado will soon be one phone call away from rejoining the Orioles’ active major league roster.

According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, the young third baseman has been cleared to embark on a minor league rehab assignment this Friday with the High-A Frederick Keys. Machado has been doing outfield drills since the second week of April and made it through an on-field batting practice session with no issues on Tuesday afternoon.

The exciting 21-year-old is on his way back from October surgery to repair a torn medial patellofemoral ligament in his left knee. He batted .283/.314/.432 with 14 home runs, 51 doubles, 71 RBI, and 88 runs scored in 156 games last season for the ORioles before suffering the major knee injury in a late-September game at Tropicana Field.

Machado is on track to meet up with the O’s the first week of May.

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.