BOSTON -- The Orioles’ trade of veteran right-hander reliever Luis Ayala allowed the team the get back to a conventional 12-pitcher staff and seven-man bullpen – and the move was also a show of confidence in Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland.
McFarland must stay on the roster all season or else the team will likely lose him back to the Cleveland Indians.
“I still have to perform,” said McFarland, who tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his major league debut on Saturday. “The security is there a little bit, but not really because I still have to get outs. With the trade, it definitely bestows a little more confidence in me that they definitely are thinking more long term to get rid of an option.”
The Orioles traded Ayala to the Atlanta Braves for minor league left-handed reliever Chris Jones, who was assigned to Double-A Bowie.
Said Orioles manager Buck Showalter: “T.J. is a 23-year-old left-handed pitcher. Who knows? He’s going to have to pitch and he’s going to have to have some success in order to keep him. We can’t just bury some guy. We like him. It wasn’t completely about keeping T.J. We liked the player we got back. We knew we weren’t going to be at 13 pitchers all year and following the off day we felt like it was a good time to go.”
Also of note today:
-- Outfielder Nolan Reimold is back in the lineup for the first time since Sunday, starting at DH. Showalter said he feels comfortable – barring any setbacks tonight – putting Reimold in the field Thursday.
-- Showalter said top prospect Dylan Bundy, who is on the seven-day minor league disabled list with right elbow discomfort, will start a throwing progression Thursday. Showalter said Bundy previously had been throwing catch.
-- Right-hander Steve Johnson (strained lat) will throw three innings – or about 55 pitches –in an extended spring training game on Saturday in Sarasota.
-- Left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada (Tommy John surgery) could pitch two innings Saturday as well. He threw the second of two batting practice sessions Tuesday.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups: