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McFarland adjusting to new life, new role

McFarland adjusting to new life, new role

NEW YORK -- It's been quite a ride so far for T.J. McFarland, who made his Major League debut with 3 1/3 scoreless innings on April 6.

The followup act took a little longer than expected, as the 23-year-old finally made his second appearance on Sunday night, tossing two scoreless innings in the Orioles' 3-0 loss to the Yankees.

"He pitched well again," manager Buck Showalter said. "I think he threw three strikes that were called balls, too, so that's even more impressive. He worked his way through it. He's had two good outings. We feel comfortable pitching him. It's just the situation hasn't been there every night out and also with some of the options we have."

McFarland -- who has gotten to see Fenway Park and the new Yankee Stadium on the team's road trip -- said prior to Sunday's game that it's been "an incredible" nine days in between outings and he has been on a throwing schedule to ensure he didn't go more than three or four days without getting in some work. Depending on the matchup and team need, McFarland has thrown before or after a game to stay fresh.

"He will tell you it's a better role than Columbus, Ohio," Showalter said, referring to the Triple-A club for which McFarland pitched in the starting rotation last season as a member of the Indians organization. "We've been throwing him down in the bullpen. Keeping the ball in his hand. There will come a time this season, I hope, when it's not always saving him for long relief."

The rookie also made good use of his time sitting in the bullpen with his teammates.

"[Watching them do] even the small things that most people won't even think about, it really goes a long way," McFarland said. "Just kind of talking with them and looking at the different dynamic in the bullpen, it's been eye-opening.

"[Being a reliever] is different than what I've ever experienced, but I think I'm handling it well. I think it's more mental than anything. The physical part, everybody down there is ready to throw. Mentally, you got to be able to turn it on and off when you need to."

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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