Showalter speaks after 4-2 win (with Ayala note)

BRADENTON, Fla. - Left-hander T.J. McFarland allowed a run in the eighth inning tonight and faced three former Orioles in a row in the ninth - Omar Santos, Robert Andino and Travis Ishikawa. A fourth, Chris Dickerson, stood on deck.

Dickerson never made it to the plate. Ishikawa grounded to McFarland, and the Orioles defeated the Pirates, 4-2, at McKechnie Field.

Manager Buck Showalter thought starter Bud Norris was "good" tonight.

"Threw a lot more changeups, around 10 or 12. Got about three or four outs with it. It was good to see," Showalter said.

"Mac threw a bunch of ground balls, swinging bunts. Stevie (Johnson) threw the ball good. Everybody had a good pitching night."

Showalter noted that Nelson Cruz, who doubled twice and drove in a run, is "in a good place."

David Lough is fine after collecting a single, stealing second and scoring in the eighth.

"Knock on wood, he's back," Showalter said.

Adam Jones will serve as the designated hitter Friday afternoon against the Braves.

Showalter had a print out of the ESPN.com article that contained quotes from Dr. Neal ElAttrache regarding Manny Machado's latest knee examination. Showalter would prefer that ElAttrache not speak publicly about it, but at least the news was good.

ElAttrache also spoke to Orioles head athletic trainer Richie Bancells, though Showalter wasn't certain whether the conversation came before or after the ESPN.com interview.

The result of the exam "is not news," Showalter said.

"Nothing's changed, but it's good to hear somebody else say what our training staff is saying."

Update: Here's something that's changed: FOXSports.com is reporting that the Orioles' minor league deal with reliever Luis Ayala includes an invitation to spring training.

I was told today that Ayala would report to the minor league complex.

The Orioles will announce the signing Friday morning.

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