BOSTON – When the Orioles traded Luis Ayala to Atlanta on Wednesday, it seemed a vote of confidence for T.J. McFarland, the rookie Rule 5 draft pick.
The 23-year-old left-hander has been in only one game so far, a one-hit 3 1/3 inning appearance against Minnesota last Saturday.
Ayala’s departure gave the Orioles 12 pitchers.
“Luis is an established veteran, a great guy. I don’t think that’s the only reason they did that. I think there’s a lot of other factors,” McFarland said.
“It doesn’t mean I’m here to stay or anything. Still every day, I’ve got to go out there and perform and get outs and stuff. It gives me some more confidence.”
McFarland’s role is long relief, and he doesn’t expect anything to change with the departure of Ayala. As a starter for nearly all his career, he had to make a quick adjustment to relieving and not knowing when he might pitch.
“It was for the first day in spring training, but then I got used to it after one day. Then, I got used to it. It’s more mental than anything. If you can mentally handle making the switch, then it’s an easier transition,” McFarland said. “I don’t think it was too hard to change.”