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Twins option struggling Miguel Sanó to Single-A

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Following Thursday afternoon’s 3-1 loss to the Tigers, the Twins optioned third baseman Miguel Sanó to High-A Fort Myers and outfielder Jake Cave to Triple-A Rochester, Dan Hayes of The Athletic reports. The club will activate Joe Mauer from the disabled list and add another player to the roster on Friday before opening a three-game road series with the Indians.

Sanó, 25, has struggled this season, batting .203/.270/.405 with seven home runs and 27 RBI in 163 plate appearances. Since returning in late May after dealing with a hamstring injury, Sanó hit .191 over 73 trips to the plate.

Usually, when a player is in the midst of a slump, a team might send him to Triple-A for a spell to figure things out. It’s rare for the club to demote an established major leaguer — an All-Star, even — to Single-A. Perhaps the Twins want Sanó to face lesser competition as a way to help rebuild his confidence.

Mauer, 35, suffered a neck injury diving for a ball a month ago and developed concussion symptoms. He will return to play batting .283/.404/.355 in 167 PA.

Cave, 25, hit a pair of home runs across six games in the majors this season. He’ll continue to serve as outfield depth in the minors.

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.