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T.J. McFarland returning to Baltimore for MRI after suffering left knee injury in Norfolk

Orioles pitcher T.J. McFarland throws in the fourth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., on Friday, April 22, 2016.
Orioles pitcher T.J. McFarland throws in the fourth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., on Friday, April 22, 2016. (John Sleezer / TNS)

Left-hander T.J. McFarland will return to Baltimore for an MRI on his left knee Sunday after suffering an undisclosed injury covering home plate in the first inning of a start Friday for Triple-A Norfolk.

"He's going to get an MRI tomorrow in Baltimore, and see [team doctor Mike] Jacobs afterward to be on the safe side, see what we're dealing with," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We'll wait. We'll see what Mike says tomorrow afternoon. I like T.J., but we've got other pitchers in our minor leagues, contrary to what some people may want to think."

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McFarland was optioned to the minors earlier this month as the odd man out when the Orioles needed to add infielder Paul Janish with shortstop J.J. Hardy out. He had allowed just one earned run over 13 innings before the injury, but suffered it and took a loss Friday.

Showalter said McFarland has downplayed the injury a bit, but indicated the tests will reveal the true extent of the injury. Late Friday night, Showalter said an MRI would only be required if McFarland didn't see any improvement today.

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"I think they said, 'Let's just go ahead and do it,'" Showalter said. "T.J. texted with Brady [Anderson, vice president of baseball operations] last night and goes, 'I don't think it's a big deal. I don't think I need more than two or three days. What's the big deal?' I've had people say that before, and they had surgery."

McFarland went down to the minors with a 4.73 major league ERA this season in 13 1/3 innings (eight appearances). His strong performances as a starter in Norfolk were getting noticed, and McFarland was a candidate to possibly return soon, even as a spot starter.

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