The Nationals returned McFarland to their alternate training site in Fredericksburg on Monday.
Released by Washington on March 27, McFarland re-signed with the organization two days later on a minor-league deal. McFarland joined Washington as a member of the taxi squad for its road trip in Los Angeles over the weekend, but he'll head back to the alternate site with the Nationals electing to replace him on the taxi squad with infielder Luis Garcia.
McFarland was released by the Nationals on Saturday, Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports.
McFarland was in camp as a non-roster invitee but was unable to secure a spot on the Opening Day roster after posting a 3.60 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 10 innings this spring. He'll now be able to seek out other options as a free agent ahead of the regular season.
McFarland signed a minor-league contract with Washington on Tuesday, Chris Cotillo of The Springfield Republican reports.
McFarland has struck out fewer than 15 percent of opposing batters in each of the last seven seasons, but he's managed a perfectly respectable 4.05 ERA thanks in large part due to a 63.8 percent groundball rate. His ERA came in at 4.35 last season, a number which would likely earn him a middle-relief role, though he struck out just 9.8 percent of opposing batters, which may be approaching the lower end for what a big-league pitcher can do while still having some degree of success.
McFarland, who allowed an earned run on a solo home run and also surrendered one other hit and a walk over one inning in a loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday, now has an 11.37 ERA across the 6.1 innings he's pitched in September.
McFarland came into the month boasting a sparkling 0.68 ERA and 0.98 WHIP on the season, which had rendered him one of the most reliable middle-relief options for manager Bob Melvin to that point. However, those numbers are now a distant memory, as they've ballooned to 3.86 and 1.39, respectively, following his extended stretch of ineffectiveness. McFarland has allowed at least one run in five of the first seven appearances of the month, with the three homers he's yielded over that span pivotal to his poor numbers.
McFarland, who allowed an earned run on a hit and a walk over one inning in a loss to the Padres on Sunday, has been scored upon in each of his first two September outings after coming into the month having yielded just one earned run over his first 15 appearances of the season.
McFarland has been one of the most reliable middle-to-later-inning relief options for manager Bob Melvin during what has mostly been a banner year for the Athletics bullpen. However, the veteran southpaw has shown a bit more vulnerability to open September, although he'd been so effective coming into the month that his ERA still sits at an elite 1.76 across 15.1 innings. Despite the recent pair of stumbles, McFarland figures to continue playing an integral role down the stretch as a key left-handed relief option.
McFarland was credited with his fourth hold in a win over the Rangers on Thursday, firing a scoreless seventh inning during which he allowed one hit and did not record any walks or strikeouts.
McFarland has quickly established himself as a high-leverage option for manager Bob Melvin, with Thursday's outing already marking his fourth appearance in August. The veteran southpaw has yet to allow a run or issue a walk over 5.2 frames, but given he's now worked three consecutive days, McFarland may be unavailable for the early part of the weekend series against the Astros.
McFarland (1-0) allowed one hit and struck out one without allowing a run in two-thirds of an inning to earn the win in Wednesday's game versus the Rangers.
McFarland became the pitcher of record when Austin Allen put the Athletics ahead with a two-run homer in the seventh inning. Through 4.2 innings this season, McFarland has allowed just three hits and struck out two batters without allowing a run. He's been a reliable option in middle relief during his first year in Oakland.
McFarland was credited with his first hold of the season in Sunday's win over the Angels, firing a perfect sixth inning.
The left-hander's first regular season in Oakland has gotten off to an encouraging start, as McFarland also retired the trio of Tommy La Stella, Albert Pujols and Jason Castro on 13 pitches in his debut on Opening Night. McFarland's ability to keep the ball down is one of his most appealing attributes to manager Bob Melvin, and fittingly, the 30-year-old has retired five of the first six batters he's faced this season on groundballs.
McFarland is viewed as an important left-handed component of the bullpen, particularly due to his ability to induce groundballs, Shayna Rubin of The Mercury News reports. "He's a ground ball guy. You look at those numbers, it's pretty significant, whether it's left or right," manager Bob Melvin said. "And when you're putting together a bullpen this season - and the three-batter minimum, it starts tomorrow - you're looking for lefties who can get right-handers out."
The offseason acquisition recorded an unsightly 6.00 ERA across six innings over six Cactus League appearances before spring training was suspended. Despite the elevated figure, McFarland's profile could make him a good fit if he's used selectively, with Melvin's comments implying the team has already developed a plan to do just that. The 30-year-old's reputation for keeping batted balls down is well-earned, as he's generated a groundball rate of at least 61.1 percent in three consecutive seasons. McFarland has had intermittent success throughout a major-league career that dates back to 2013, but Rubin notes the .313 expected batting average against him last season ranked in the bottom one percentile in the majors.
McFarland fired a perfect ninth inning in a Cactus League loss to the Royals on Tuesday, recording two strikeouts.
The veteran southpaw lowered his spring ERA to 6.00 with the encouraging effort, one that came on the heels of a couple of rough outings. Despite some struggles this spring, Martin Gallegos of MLB.com reports McFarland retains a strong chance of making the Opening Day roster due to the fact he'd serve as a second left-handed option out of the bullpen for manager Bob Melvin, and because the team believes his ground-ball tendencies will dovetail nicely with the pitcher-friendly dimensions of the Oakland Coliseum.
McFarland signed a one-year contract with the Athletics worth $1.8 million Monday, avoiding arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports.
The 30-year-old was claimed off waivers by the Athletics in November after his option was declined by the Diamondbacks, so it isn't entirely surprising to see him sign a contract with Oakland and avoid arbitration. After posting a stellar 2.00 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP in 2018, McFarland regressed toward the mean with a 4.82 ERA and 1.63 WHIP last year.
McFarland was claimed off waivers by Oakland on Monday.
McFarland's $1.85 club option was declined by the Diamondbacks, but he evidently wasn't bound for free agency as originally expected. The Athletics will presumably pick up the option as part of the transaction.
McFarland's $1.85 million club option was declined by the Diamondbacks on Thursday, making him a free agent.
McFarland appeared in 51 games last season, posting a 4.82 ERA but only managing a 35:20 K:BB over 56 innings pitched. The 30-year-old would likely remain a middle reliever with another team, and his fantasy value is limited due to his low strikeout rate and lackluster ERA.
McFarland allowed three runs on four hits and one walk while striking out three over 2.1 innings in Tuesday's 9-0 loss to the Dodgers.
Three of the four hits McFarland allowed went for extra bases, and he surrendered three runs for a second straight appearance. Clean outings are not the norm for a long reliever like McFarland since he typically throws multiple innings, but he's particularly been hit hard by opponents in recent times. Over his last six outings, the left-hander has a 6.28 ERA with 21 hits allowed over 14.1 innings. Additionally, his .333 batting average against for the season is last on Arizona's staff.
McFarland (shoulder) was reinstated from the 10-day injured list Tuesday.
McFarland had been dealing with shoulder inflammation since early March. The lefty had a 2.00 ERA in 72 innings of relief for the Diamondbacks last season but hadn't recorded an ERA below 4.91 in any of the three previous seasons. Jon Duplantier was optioned to Triple-A Reno in a corresponding move.
McFarland (shoulder) is scheduled to throw 50 pitches over 2-to-3 innings Monday for Triple-A Reno, Richard Morin of the Arizona Republic reports.
This will be McFarland's fourth outing while on rehab. Manager Torey Lovullo said he wasn't sure whether the left-hander will need another rehab outing after Monday's appearance. McFarland has allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and one walk while striking out seven over four innings with the Aces.
McFarland (shoulder) threw a scoreless inning for Triple-A Reno on Thursday, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.
This was the first game of McFarland's rehabilitation assignment. He had been scheduled to pitch for the Aces on Wednesday, but the game was postponed. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said the left-hander will pitch again Sunday.
McFarland (shoulder) will begin a minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A Reno on Wednesday, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports.
McFarland has been battling left shoulder inflammation since early March but appears to be nearing his return to the majors. The 29-year-old will likely need a handful of appearances with Reno after missing most of spring training but could still rejoin the Diamondback by the end of April.
McFarland (shoulder) threw an 18-pitch simulated game Saturday, Jack Magruder of The Sports Xchange reports.
McFarland has been making steady progress in his return from shoulder inflammation. His next step is expected to be a rehab assignment.
McFarland (shoulder) is scheduled to pitch in an extended spring training game Wednesday, Richard Morin of the Arizona Republic reports.
This will be McFarland's first game action after a few successful bullpen sessions. He'll throw one inning and about 15-20 pitches.
|More Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|