Brush back Yoenis Cespedes and pay the price

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You’ll often hear pitchers and/or old-schoolers tout the importance of brushing back hitters with inside pitches to keep them off the plate.

Reds right-hander Jonathan Broxton tried that last night against Yoenis Cespedes, going way up and way in on the Red Sox outfielder. And on the very next pitch, a 95-mph fastball, Cespedes launched a mammoth two-run homer to dead center field that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead (and victory).

Asked afterward about the brush-back attempt, Cespedes replied via an interpreter: “A lot of times pitchers think when you get a pitch thrown high and tight on you like that, you’ll back off and get a little flustered, but that’s not how I am.”

No, no it isn’t. Thankfully.

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.