Jered Weaver diagnosed with nerve tightness in neck

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After struggling to reach 80 miles per hour with his fastball Wednesday and then undergoing an MRI exam, Angels right-hander Jered Weaver has been diagnosed with what the team is calling nerve tightness in his neck.

Weaver showed a good sense of humor about the whole situation, telling Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com: “The third homer that I watched go out kind of hurt my neck a little bit.”

However, neither Weaver nor the Angels can feel very good about his consistently declining velocity and the lack of a clear-cut reason for his issues.

I just feel like it’s neck tension that is causing me to not be able to throw the ball like I want to. I guess it’s going to kind of help to get a professional doctor to go from there.

Gonzalez reports that Weaver plans to continue throwing and is on track to be ready for the season, but his next start should make the odds of that happening much clearer and there’s no timetable for that.

Weaver had career-worst numbers across the board last season, has lost velocity on an annual basis, and is in the final year of his contract with the Angels, so the 33-year-old three-time All-Star has a lot riding on this season.

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.