McFarland in, Steve Johnson to the (updated)
Rule 5 Draft pick T.J. McFarland has made the team as a long reliever and right-hander Steve Johnson will start the season on the disabled list with a right lat strain.
“I’m so happy, I’m ecstatic,” McFarland said. “It’s surreal. This is incredible. I can’t really sum it up into words right now. It’s a dream come true. Since 2007 when my career started, that’s what I’ve been hoping for and it finally happened. I’m just so excited.”
McFarland pitched four scoreless innings in Friday afternoon’s game against the State College of Florida and he went inside to the weight room to do shoulder exercises when manager Buck Showalter came in to tell him the good news. Following the Orioles decision to DL Chris Tillman, it was widely speculated that McFarland would make the club. But the 23-year-old, selected from the Cleveland Indians organization this winter, said he didn’t think that way.
“I couldn’t,” he said. “No, I couldn’t, because if I did and it didn’t happen, it would have been even more of a disappointment. Really, I was just trying to keep a clear head with that and stay positive, but in the end, this happened.”
The addition of McFarland gives the Orioles an eight-man bullpen to start the season, including three lefties and while Mark Hendrickson is still in camp, he’s expected to start the season at Triple-A Norfolk. Jair Jurrjens is also still in camp although he’s expected to avoid the disabled list and start the season with Norfolk as well. Johnson will join Wilson Betemit and pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada on the DL to start the year.
“Obviously, I am disappointed,” Johnson, who was a candidate to make the club, said of the late-spring injury. “I definitely wanted to start out healthy, either way, wherever I ended up. But I’ll take some time, rest it and try to get healthy. I don’t know how long, but hopefully it’s only a couple days [before I can resume baseball activities].”
To recap a hectic day of activity, you can read the full story on the roster moves here.
The only remaining decision is the final bench spot, which is between Steve Pearce and Conor Jackson. My guess is it goes to Pearce.
In case you missed it, there’s lot of coverage on Orioles.com today, including a feature on Opening Day starter Jason Hamel (which you can read here), a column by Richard Justice on the vibe from O’s camp (you can read here) and the decision to move Brian Roberts to ninth in the lineup (more on that here.)