ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Left-hander T.J. McFarland was recalled before tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays to give the Orioles some needed help in the bullpen.
To make room for McFarland on the 25-man roster, the Orioles optioned right-hander Brad Brach to Triple-A Norfolk.
The team is more comfortable playing with 12 pitchers rather than having a short bench. That might change when third baseman Manny Machado gets a few more games under his belt after coming off the 15-day disabled list last week.
Tuesday night will be Machado’s first game back at Tropicana Field since his season ended last September when he suffered a left knee injury as he rounded first base.
Asked whether Machado might get a day off during this series, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he would talk to Machado and lean on him to decide that.
Orioles first baseman Chris Davis continues to make steady progress from a left oblique injury. Before Tuesday’s game, he took swings in the indoor batting cage and also played catch on the field.
Showalter said that, even though Davis seems to be ahead of schedule, his chance to come off the DL when he’s eligible Sunday still seems like a long shot. Davis likely would need two or three days of at-bats on a minor league rehab assignment before returning to the team, Showalter said.
The Orioles considered leaving Davis here in Florida at the club's complex in Sarasota to continue recovering, but Davis will remain with the team and return to Baltimore before going out on a rehab assignment.
Showalter said that Norfolk right-hander Kevin Gausman will return to the Tides rotation Saturday after a bout with focal pneumonia. He will have two work days before he makes that start.
Showalter was impressed with left-hander Johan Santana’s two-inning extended spring training game in Sarasota. He said Santana’s velocity of 86-89 mph and his changeup speed (75-76 mph) was comparable to when he threw a no-hitter in 2012 coming off his first shoulder surgery.
Outfielder Francisco Peguero had four at-bats in an extended spring training game today in Sarasota.
Here are today’s starting lineups: