BAL@TOR: McFarland forces Melky to fly out to right

BALTIMORE -- Seeking to add some infield insurance with Chris Davis' oblique injury, the Orioles optioned lefty T.J. McFarland to Triple-A Norfolk following Friday's game.

A corresponding roster move will be announced on Saturday, but it's expected to be a position player from Triple-A to help the O's as they wait to further evaluate Davis. The All-Star first baseman exited Friday's game after four innings with a left oblique injury, and the team is hopeful they got ahead of the injury.

McFarland, who was added prior to Tuesday's game in Toronto, pitched three innings in Friday's 5-0 loss to the Royals.

Left oblique strain forces Davis to leave game

KC@BAL: Showalter on Davis' injury in loss to Royals

BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis exited Friday's 5-0 loss against the Kansas City Royals after four innings with a left oblique strain, and he will be further evaluated Saturday. The Orioles' first baseman was in good spirits about the injury, joking with reporters that he was sidelined 48 to 65 weeks.

"I've never had an oblique strain or whatever you want to call it, but it doesn't feel so bad right now that I can't move or anything like that," Davis said of an injury that typically takes 4-6 weeks to come back from. "So I think right now, we'll just take it one day at a time."

The slugger looked to be in pain during his last at-bat, grimacing during a third-inning lineout against Yordano Ventura, and Davis said he's been dealing with some discomfort in the area for the past few days.

"I think this time of the year, it's early, it's cold outside, the weather's not the most ideal. You're going to have aches and pains," Davis said. "Tonight, when I started swinging, felt good in the cage before the game, and a couple swings off of Ventura just didn't feel good. At that point, [manager] Buck [Showalter] kind of took it out of my hands. Something that we're going to keep an eye on and hopefully not let it get too bad right now. It's too early for that."

"I didn't want to take a chance of it getting worse," Showalter said. "I was watching [Davis] at first base, moving around, and he didn't seem real crisp ... . You get to know your players and their body language, and knowing it's not normal."

Any serious injury to Davis, the reigning American League home run champion, would be a huge loss to an Orioles club already without All-Star Manny Machado. Ryan Flaherty moved from third base to first in Davis' absence, with Jonathan Schoop shifting from second to third base and Steve Lombardozzi entering the game at second. Davis has two homers and 13 RBIs for the O's, and he entered Friday's game batting .257 with a career-high 20 consecutive games in which he reached base successfully.

"There was no asking," Davis said of being removed from the game. "[Showalter] basically said, 'You are done.' So it's probably smart right now. If he had left it up to me, I would have stayed in there. It's probably why he didn't. If we can get ahead of it now to make it just something that's just a bump in the road, as opposed to a big obstacle, it's better off."

Should Davis be sidelined for an extended period of time, Showalter wouldn't commit to Flaherty being the backup first baseman, saying the club has other options, particularly with Friday's post game move to option pitcher T.J. McFarland to Triple-A Norfolk. But Showalter was hesitant in making any definitive proclamations on Friday night.

Asked if he was concerned, Showalter said, "They all do [concern you], but until we can judge what stage it is, it's a little premature, because he's a well-conditioned strong guy. He's a tough guy. He plays through a lot of things.

"You take the proper precautions and see where you are in the next couple of days. He's worth waiting on."

MLB makes change on transfer play rule

BAL@BOS: Holt is called safe at second on an error

BALTIMORE -- The big news around baseball on Friday was the announced changes in interpreting the transfer play rule, a new facet of the game this season of which the Orioles have seen plenty in the opening month.

Major League Baseball's Playing Rules Committee's determination is that an out has occurred whenever a player has complete control over the ball in his glove, and if he drops the ball after opening his glove, it will still be ruled an out. There is no requirement to successfully remove the ball from the glove for it to be an out.

The previous interpretation cost Orioles shortstop Ryan Flaherty a valuable out in a loss against the Red Sox on Sunday night. The nationally televised game, along with several other contests where the transfer rule has come into play, helped bring to the forefront the issue with the new way the rule was being enforced.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Friday he was glad baseball made the swift change and wasn't going to opine on whether it cost the O's a victory at Fenway Park.

"Refresh my memory, didn't we benefit from that call, too," Showalter said, referring to a game earlier this season. "I'm not going to dwell on it. Ryan and our infielders knew what was going to be called. Whether it was fair or not fair ... . It's not like we weren't forewarned, and we talked to our guys in the spring about it. We talked to our guys in the advanced meeting about it. Everybody knew. That's why there wasn't a whole lot of argument out there.

"Shame on you if you haven't made your people aware of it. And anybody that comes out and complains about it must have not been listening at the meetings."