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Orioles reliever T.J. McFarland leaves Sunday's game with elbow tenderness

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Orioles left-hander T.J. McFarland left Sunday afternoon's Grapefruit League game against the Boston Red Sox with a tender elbow, manager Buck Showalter said following his team's 8-7 loss at JetBlue Park.

The severity of the injury is unclear, but Showalter said McFarland -- who is contending to be the team's long reliever this season -- will be re-evaluated on Monday.

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McFarland allowed seven of the ten batters he faced to reach base, yielding two runs on five hits before he was removed after 1 1/3 innings just before he completed his pitch count of 40.

"He just wasn't finishing his pitches," Showalter said. "You could see it in the game. You get to know a guy and you can tell there's a little something going on there, I thought anyway. Wally [pitching coach Dave Wallace] and I were talking a little about it. He seemed a little different today in the second inning."

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McFarland has struggled through his first two Grapefruit League outings, having allowed three runs on eight hits over 2 1/3 innings.

Showalter said he first thought something might be wrong with McFarland in between the fourth and fifth innings and he ultimately pulled McFarland out of the game five batters into the fifth inning.

"I was watching him between innings," Showalter said. "I always kind of look at the pitcher and he seemed uncomfortable. You get to know a guy and when he came in, I told Wally and the trainer to ask him if he was OK and he said he was a little tender in the elbow. So we'll check on that and see what happens."

McFarland, a former Rule 5 pick of the Orioles in 2013, has been a valuable bullpen asset over the past three seasons.

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And because Showalter likes to have a left-handed long man to come in behind a right-handed starter – and the entire Orioles rotation this season is right-handed – the 25-year-old figured to be the favorite to be the team's long reliever again this season.

He is the second left-handed reliever to suffer an injury this spring. Left-handed Brian Matusz is currently out with a strained muscle in his lower back.

McFarland is 10-5 with a 3.89 ERA in his three seasons with the Orioles and was 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA last season in 40 innings of work.

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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