TORONTO -- The Orioles recalled left-hander T.J. McFarland from Triple-A Norfolk before Tuesday’s game and designated outfielder Steve Pearce for assignment.
McFarland, who was scheduled to start for Norfolk on Tuesday, will add depth to a bullpen depleted from pitching 7 1/3 innings over the past two games in Boston. Three relievers — left-handers Zach Britton and Brian Matusz, and right-hander Darren O’Day — worked back-to-back days.
McFarland and right-hander Josh Stinson gave the Orioles two long-relief options Tuesday. McFarland pitched one scoreless inning.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said it was a tough decision to designate Pearce, who played sparingly but was a valuable right-handed hitter off the bench and well-respected in the clubhouse.
“It’s always tough,” Showalter said. “It’s like I told him today, ‘It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later at some point or another.’ The only way I make it work for me is knowing it’s best for Steve, and he’s going to come out OK one way or the other. Staying with us [if he clears waivers] is OK, too. I like him.”
With Delmon Young getting at-bats as a right-handed designated hitter and in the outfield, Pearce didn’t play much. He was 1-for-7 in three games.
“It’s a numbers thing,” Pearce said. “There really wasn’t a lot of opportunity for me to get out there anyway. Obviously, I was working hard, trying to stay sharp and just waiting for my time. You never know what happens. Guys get hurt. In this situation, it was unfortunate that I was the odd man out.”
Pearce likely won’t clear waivers. He has been claimed twice before, including once by the Orioles in September 2012, his second stint with the club that season. He will fly back to Baltimore to be with his family and wait to see if he is claimed.
“It’s difficult,” said Pearce, who hit .261/.362/.420 in 44 games last year. “I’m going to miss the guys. It’s tough. Having to leave the team, getting designated for assignment, nobody likes it, but it comes with the territory. It’s part of the game. I understand that. I have no bad blood toward anybody. It’s just the way it works.”
Hardy’s hamstring getting better
Shortstop J.J. Hardy sounded much more optimistic about his strained right hamstring Tuesday, and said he hopes to start Wednesday.
“My mood had changed a lot considering yesterday and the way I woke up this morning,” Hardy said. “I got into the hotel last night and went to the ice machine and iced pretty much all night long. I don’t know the percentage, but it feels much better than yesterday.”
Hardy did some light running, took ground balls and took batting practice before Tuesday’s game and said he would be available in an emergency. He hopes the progress allows him to return to the starting lineup Wednesday.
“Obviously, I would hope to,” Hardy said. “I don’t know if [Wednesday] for sure, or by the end of the series or what. I feel like I’m good. I told them I could probably go [Tuesday]. I don’t think they want me to go [Tuesday] and hurt it, but I told them I’m available. We’ll see. It’s my first time ever having anything like this, so I don’t know what to really expect.”
Hardy missed six games with lower back spasms earlier this month before he left Sunday night’s game in Boston with the hamstring strain.
Wieters sits in series opener
Catcher Matt Wieters sat out Tuesday’s series opener in Toronto with soreness in his right forearm, but both Wieters and Showalter said the move was precautionary.
Wieters said he felt tightness in his throwing arm after making a throw to second base Sunday against the Red Sox. He received a previously scheduled off day in Monday’s day game at Fenway Park before sitting again Tuesday.
“Got a little soreness and more tightness after playing the cold night game,” Wieters said. “I think it was more of, ‘Let’s give it one more day of treatment.’ We should be good to go tomorrow. Just didn't want to turn a two-day soreness into a five-day soreness.”
Showalter said he expects Wieters to be back in the starting lineup Wednesday. Wieters said he has never had soreness in the forearm, but he said he’s not concerned about the injury.
“It’s very minor, and if it wasn't April, I would probably be back in there today,” Wieters said. “But we’ve got a lot of games left.”
Around the horn
Showalter said that he’s considering keeping a 13-man pitching staff and having a short bench, especially once Machado returns. … Right-hander Dylan Bundy will begin throwing breaking balls for the first time since last year’s Tommy John surgery in a bullpen session Wednesday . … Left-hander Troy Patton will start his minor league rehab assignment Wednesday at Norfolk. He will finish an inning Wednesday, take a day off and then pitch again Friday. … Nelson Cruz is the second Orioles player to drive in at least one run in each game of a four-game series at Fenway Park. Frank Robinson also did it in 1966. … Double-A Bowie first baseman Christian Walker was named Eastern League Player of the Week this past week. Walker, the Orioles’ fourth-round pick in 2012, hit .419 (8-for-19) with a triple, two homers, six RBIs and five runs scored over the week.
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