NEW YORK - Orioles left-hander T.J. McFarland got his feet wet in an April 6 game against the Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards.
He was tossed into the deep end of the pool last night at Yankee Stadium, and the Rule 5 pick didn't sink to the bottom.
McFarland threw two scoreless innings, raising his major league total to 5 1/3. He's allowed two hits and struck out eight.
"I felt good," he said. "It was a little cold out there. I was layered up, but I felt good.
"You couldn't ask for anything else so far. I'm just happy to contribute to the team, and tonight, to throw up two zeros at the end of the game and keep the team in the hunt for the win, that's all I can ask for."
McFarland came back out for the eighth inning last night and retired Robinson Cano on a fly ball to left field and struck out Kevin Youkilis and Ben Francisco. And he managed to avoid being in complete awe.
"There was one moment when I looked to see who was coming up to remind myself who it was, and it was Cano," McFarland said. "I could have went in one direction and said, 'Oh, my God, that's Robinson Cano,' and then possibly just lose it, but I went in the other direction and I was like, 'You know what? It's just any other hitter. I'm just going to go up there and pitch a lefty like I normally do.'
"I think that, for me mentally, that's how I'm going to have to pitch. Not really focus on the superstar status of the hitter that I'm facing."
In Triple-A Norfolk's 2-1 victory over Gwinnett yesterday, starter Josh Stinson picked up the win, Alex Burnett was credited with a hold and Scott Proctor earned the save.
Proctor was acquired from the Giants for a small amount of cash - and I mean small - two days before the Orioles broke camp. Stinson was claimed off waivers from the Athletics on April 4. Burnett was claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays on Friday.
For all we know, their long man out of the bullpen tonight may not be on the roster.
"You've got to have depth," said Tides manager Ron Johnson "The best way to make sure you don't get caught is to be proactive. That's the way the Orioles operated last year and it worked, so why change?"
For all the fans who have asked why the Orioles didn't bring up Jonathan Schoop instead of Chris Dickerson, the kid's batting .147 and he committed his third error yesterday. No need to rush him.
Russ Canzler is batting .333 after going 2-for-3 with a double and triple. Is he the next man up?
Did you know that pitcher Miguel Gonzalez has a beautiful singing voice? Neither did I, but it's true.
Adam Jones says Gonzalez sings "romantic" songs in Spanish. Gonzalez is shy during interviews, but he had the nerve to stand up in front of teammates, manager Buck Showalter, coaches and assorted clubhouse personnel and perform during the team's talent show in spring training.
Apparently, he was a big hit.
I suggested that Gonzalez sing his responses to our postgame questions, but they'd be in Spanish and we wouldn't understand most of it.
I've written it before, but I still think the Orioles and Nationals are natural trade partners. The Nats badly need another left-hander in their bullpen and the Orioles are fairly deep in that department. The Orioles want to improve their catching depth, and the Nats are fairly deep in that department, at least by comparison.
This leftover is pretty stale, since it's been sitting out since spring training. A scout from outside the organization offered his opinion of Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy.
He said Gausman absolutely stood out among every Oriole he saw in camp.
"He's the first guy," the scout said. "Any scout will tell you his stuff is electric. It comes out nice and easy and it's not just fastballs. It's his off-speed stuff, too, that's really impressive for a guy just drafted last season. He's got a good feel for his off-speed pitches. His plus changeup at times is his best pitch. And he threw strikes. There's not much that that guy isn't able to do.
"I think they did the right thing sending him to Double-A and letting him mature a little but, but he's the real deal from what he showed me. He was impressive."
The same scout said Dylan Bundy "blew my doors off last year, but he didn't look quite as sure of himself at times this spring. But if you asked me to pick between him and Gausman, it's basically a coin toss. They've both got superstar potential written all over them.
"For a 20-year-old kid, Bundy is incredibly polished, and I'm sure they expect him to be up with the big league team at some point this year, too."
First, Bundy has to start pitching again. He's on the disabled list and apparently hasn't thrown since Thursday, when he began a program. But the Orioles are going to be extremely careful with him.
The same scout also critiqued third baseman Manny Machado.
"He was terrific at third base," the scout said. "He made plays every day like Gold Glove third basemen have trouble making. He's an athletic kid and he looks like he's confident and knows what to do over there. He just looks like a baseball player. You could stick him anywhere and he'd be good.
"He's a natural at third base. There wasn't a transition. He's like, 'OK, I play here now and I'm good at it.' That's the kind of player he is at that young of an age, and that's why he was such a highly touted prospect. It's his ability to play the game - hit, field, whatever - and make it all look effortless."
Machado actually had some difficulties at third last night, though an error in the fifth inning was removed by the official scorer.
I'm hopping on a 9:30 a.m. train to the BWI station, where I'll take a cab or shuttle to BWI airport, where I'll take a shuttle to the parking garage, where I'll search for my car. I'm looking forward to a quiet off-day, if the Orioles cooperate with me.
There's always the possibility of another minor league signing or abrupt retirement.