Orioles Like McFarland's Winning Ways





BALTIMORE—The Orioles went into the Rule 5 draft searching for a lefthander, and they found one in T.J. McFarland.

McFarland, a fourth-round pick in the 2007 draft, went a combined 16-8, 4.03 in 2012 for the Indians between Triple-A Columbus and Double-A Akron.

"He has a knack for winning games," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. "He won eight games at both stops. He won 16 games on the year and he was a high draft pick out of high school, and he has made steady progress each year of his development, which we really like.

"He pitched very well the last month of the season and he pitched a fine game against our Norfolk team, where he beat our ballclub down there. He's got a good sinker, he keeps the ball down, he's got a good changeup, his velocity is good. It was very strong in 2011 and it was good this past season. He throws strikes in the bottom of the strike zone and we like him as a qualified major leaguer."

McFarland's lefthanded sinker plays into the strength of the Orioles' team defense, with Gold Glover J.J. Hardy at shortstop and wunderkind Manny Machado at third. McFarland owns a 48-31, 3.83 career mark in the minors with good control, including a 2.84 walks per nine ratio.

Duquette said selecting McFarland was "a cost-effective way" of plugging another lefty in the system. McFarland will most likely have to find a spot in the Orioles' bullpen if he's going to break camp with them at the end of spring training.

"We'll decide that in spring training, but it looks to me likes he's a qualified major league starter in the future," Duquette said.

BIRD SEED


• The Orioles selected righthander Tom Boleska from the Twins in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft. Boleska, 26, pitched for Fargo-Moorhead in the independent American Association in 2012, going  2-1, 1.76 ERA in 46 innings. The former Pirates farmhand pitched for Canada in the World Baseball Classic qualifier in September.

• The Orioles signed their first European player, 18-year-old lefthander Jan Novak from the Czech Republic. Novak was invited to participate in the MLB European Academy, a yearly three-week camp for prospects held in Tirrenia, Italy, in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In eight games during the 2011-2012 academies, Novak struck out 27 batters and allowed just 11 hits over 22 innings with a 2.45 ERA.