BAL@NYY: McFarland strikes out three over two innings

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."

Jackson announces his retirement from baseball

NEW YORK -- Conor Jackson has officially ended his professional baseball career, it was announced by the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate on Sunday afternoon.

""He loved being with the organization and all that, but he was at a stage in his life where it wasn't something he wanted to continue to do," said manager Buck Showalter, who exchanged text messages with Norfolk manager Ron Johnson about the retirement. "I know a little bit more from that, but that's something that should come from Conor. He was at a stage in his life where he wanted to move on. And I respect him for it.

"He had just been thinking about it for a little while. Just didn't enjoy going the park the way he used to."

Over a seven-year career with stints in Arizona, Oakland and Boston, Jackson hit .271 with 52 homers and 295 RBIs.

Signed as a Minor League free agent this winter, the 30-year-old Jackson had a solid spring, but he was the final roster cut, as the Orioles opted to take Steve Pearce as the extra outfielder/first baseman.

Jackson's departure clears a spot for Lew Ford to be promoted to Norfolk from Double-A Bowie.

"Part of me hates to see him go, but I want him to be happy, too," Showalter said of Jackson, whose career almost ended in 2009, when he was diagnosed with Valley Fever and limited to just 30 games. Jackson played for the White Sox Triple-A team last year and was a strong bet to get a callup to Baltimore at some point this season given the organization's wealth of roster moves and how highly they thought of Jackson following this spring.

"He's got a lot of things going for him," Showalter said. "He's a smart, well educated guy that can do other things with his life other than play in Norfolk. And I respect that."