Tag Archive | "dylan bundy"


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Slumping O’s to Add More Offense?

Posted on 29 July 2013 by timjones60

In shocking news the Orioles have recently been rumored to have put no other than Dylan Bundy out on the trade block. But who would the Orioles move Bundy for. Most would think that the Orioles would move Bundy for a proven ace the likes of the Phillies Cliff Lee or the White Sox’ Jake Peavy. However the rumor mill is swirling with the talks of the Orioles looking for a DH. In my opinion Henry Urrutia has proven himself as a viable designated hitter in Major League Baseball, but the O’s seek to add a proven hitter.

ESPN’ Buster Olney and the Baltimore Sun’s own Dan Connelly have linked the Orioles to the Minnesota Twins former MVP Justin Morneau. While the move would give the Orioles a solid left handed DH with a little more pop than Urrutia, is the injury risk a detractor from the deal? Morneau has missed substantial time in the past due to concussions. Coupled with declining numbers I don’t really view Morneau as an upgrade to what the Orioles already have. This season he is batting .264 with 8 home runs and 53 rbi’s. With this being the final year of his deal the Twins will likely eat much of the 14 million due to Morneau the rest of this season.

ESPN’ Buster Olney has reported on twitter that the Orioles have had “internal discussions” about Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin. Quentin is 31 (A year younger than Morneau) and has decent splits while playing half of his games at pitcher friendly Petco Park batting .255/.351/.492. Quentin also has a year left on his deal but is owed 25 million next year. The Orioles aren’t tipically known for the huge splash high dollar moves, but reports have also surfaced that Owner Peter Angelos has loosened the purse strings in hopes of a Orioles pennant.

No matter what I believe the Orioles will make a move before Wednesdays Non-waiver trade deadline. Also I don’t really think that Bundy will be moved in any of those deals, Tommy John surgery keeping him off the mound until next year and the limited performances this season makes it very hard to move him. But whatever move they do make it will be left up to Dan Duquette to acquire the last piece to bring the World Series back to Baltimore.

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Orioles remaining upbeat despite disappointing Bundy news

Posted on 26 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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BALTIMORE — The news of Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy needing Tommy John surgery clearly isn’t making Buck Showalter or anyone else in the organization feel like doing cartwheels downtown.

But the manager wasn’t singing the blues in his office either after it was determined that renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews would perform the ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction on the 20-year-old’s right elbow in Florida on Thursday. It’s better than the state of limbo in which Bundy and the organized have been since the 2011 first-round pick began experiencing discomfort in his right forearm in the spring.

“We’ve got that behind us. We know what it is,” Showalter said. “It’s nothing he is doing wrong or something he’s got to do differently. It’s just something that happens. [It’s] pretty normal, and we’re going to fix it.”

A trip to the disabled list and rest didn’t solve the issue initially. A platelet-rich plasma injection from Dr. Andrews and six weeks of rest appeared to do the trick before Bundy experienced similar discomfort in his arm while throwing from 120 feet in Sarasota on Monday.

From that point, surgery certainly appeared inevitable as a small tear in his UCL was discovered after Dr. Andrews and team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens didn’t find any structural damage to the pitcher’s elbow in April.

Many have pointed to the advances made with Tommy John surgery — Showalter reminded everyone Wednesday that future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera underwent the procedure when it was more invasive and riskier — and have described it as little more than a tuneup for a pitcher in the 21st century. That descriptor might be cavalier, but plenty of evidence suggests Bundy can reach the full potential that made him the Orioles’ top draft selection just over two years ago.

Surgery should always be treated as a last-resort option in cases such as these despite the critics who will say the pitcher should have had the surgery two months earlier in lieu of the PRP injection.

“You can always make a statement that everybody’s going to have it sooner or later, but you try to keep it from happening,” Showalter said. “In a lot of cases, that’s preordained. You take the precautions you need to take and hopefully it doesn’t happen.”

Of course, there are no guarantees with any surgical procedure, but Bundy’s age and impeccable work ethic would figure to put him in a category suited to make the quickest recovery — the timetable for a return to the mound is 10-14 months– and to reach his full ceiling as opposed to an older or less-dedicated pitcher having the surgery.

There are plenty of examples of pitchers who returned to the mound with the same or even better velocity after a tendon from elsewhere in the body replaces the damaged ligament, essentially giving a pitcher a new elbow. The list of current major leaguers who’ve undergone the procedure is extensive, ranging from Stephen Strasburg and Josh Johnson to C.J. Wilson and Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez.

Showalter reminded everyone that Bundy wasn’t a finished product as the organization was working with him to make some mechanical adjustments and to improve his time to the plate. The surgery essentially gives Bundy the potential for a clean slate physically and allows him to continue to focus on those adjustments when he’s once again pitching for a minor-league affiliate — as early as the second half of next season if the Baltimore manager has his wish granted.

“He had some hurdles to cross and this might help some in certain situations,” Showalter said. “Hopefully, next year at this time, we’ll be putting a date on when he’s going to pitch again in a game.”

The second-guessing will go on until Bundy is once again back on a mound pitching. And even then, many will wonder what might have been if he never becomes the top-of-the-rotation starter many envisioned prior to the injury.

Some will say the injury is the latest example why organizations are foolish for drafting high-school pitchers in the first round, even if they’ll ignore such names as Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, Clayton Kershaw, and Adam Wainwright that suggest it can be a very successful strategy. While college pitchers drafted in the first round have a higher success rate of making it to the majors, some evidence suggests high school arms taken in the opening round have more success than college pitchers when focusing on the pool of picks that makes it to the big leagues.

Unlike the selection of Matt Hobgood in 2009 that was criticized as a reach for financial purposes, Bundy was a consensus top 5 pick that a slew of teams would have taken in the Orioles’ position drafting fourth overall in 2011. Selecting high-school pitchers in the first round carries more risk but a higher ceiling in most cases.

Ultimately, Tommy John surgery doesn’t discriminate as you’ll find a plethora of teenagers and veteran major league pitchers alike who will meet the same fate at various times in their careers.

“We all know this is a procedure that, unfortunately, has become pretty commonplace, as Dr. Andrews would say,” Showalter said. “We talk about it all the time. He’s seeing it more and more in 14-, 15-, 16-year-old kids. That’s one of the most alarming things that he’s seeing that has changed.”

The biggest red flag you’ll find when it comes to Bundy was the workload permitted by his father Denver and high school coaches a few years back when a 2010 report from the Tulsa World wrote that the young pitcher once threw 293 pitches in a four-day stretch.

Did those types of stress contribute to a greater risk for an injury? Almost certainly, but providing the empirical evidence that shows Bundy’s overuse was dramatically different from countless other hotshot pitching prospects — at the high school or college level — would be next to impossible.

And it still doesn’t necessarily prohibit him from regaining his dominant form with a surgically-repaired elbow.

Regardless of the factors leading up to Bundy going under the knife and what might have been handled differently over the last few months — or even the last several years — Showalter and the organization can only turn the page now after finding a resolution to Bundy’s forearm discomfort. Wednesday’s outcome certainly wasn’t good news, but no one should be talking about the pitcher using the past tense.

“Dylan’s ready to go. You think about everything he’s been through with this,” said Showalter, who admitted the organization will have to monitor that Bundy doesn’t work too hard during the long rehabilitation process. “He just wants to get it done, start the thought of being able to pitch without any discomfort.”

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Orioles top pitching prospect Bundy to undergo Tommy John surgery

Posted on 25 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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(Updated: Wednesday 3:25 p.m.)

BALTIMORE — What was initially feared after his latest setback has become a reality as Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy will undergo Tommy John surgery.

The 20-year-old was in the midst of a throwing progression in Sarasota after a six-week layoff that followed a platelet-rich plasma injection administered by renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in late April. The right-hander had progressed to throwing from 120 feet when he again experienced discomfort in his right forearm and elbow.

Bundy saw team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens on Tuesday and traveled to Florida to visit Dr. Andrews for a second opinion. Manager Buck Showalter didn’t disclose any new information prior to Tuesday’s game against the Cleveland Indians as the Orioles appear to be hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

“I just got some of it from [head athletic trainer Richie Bancells], and they’re still in the process of putting everything together,” Showalter said. “Dr. Wilckens, I’m sure, will tell Dr. Andrews what he thinks, and he’ll look at it and see what he thinks and we’ll go from there. I don’t think they’re at that point yet.”

He was diagnosed with flexor mass tightness in his right forearm in April, but an MRI on his elbow at the time showed no structural damage before he received the PRP injection and was ordered to rest for six weeks. Bundy hasn’t pitched since spring training.

The optimistic outlook of Dr. Andrews potentially prescribing a second PRP injection as he did for pitcher Zach Britton last year didn’t come to fruition as a small tear was revealed in his elbow ligament. Of course, many fans have speculated — and feared — all along that Bundy would need Tommy John surgery despite the organization’s initial lack of concern when the young pitcher began feeling discomfort in the spring.

“I’m not going to handicap it,” Showalter said Tuesday. “When they get all the information in, I’ll know a little more. There’s a potential for some good things and there’s a potential for some things we’ll have to continue to work at.”

Chen back in Baltimore

Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen returned to the Orioles clubhouse on Tuesday as he moves closer to making his return to the mound.

On the disabled list since mid-May with a strained right oblique, Chen will throw a bullpen session for Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair on Wednesday and is scheduled to begin his minor-league rehab assignment on Saturday. He is expected to pitch five or six innings and could be activated as early as next week if that initial rehab start goes well.

Showalter has said Chen could be available to make two starts prior to the All-Star break, but making sure he is healthy is the club’s top priority, meaning the Taiwanese lefty could receive a second rehab start if necessary. Chen hasn’t experienced any pain since he began his throwing progression earlier this month, but gauging whether he is ready to get major league hitters out is a different story.

“I cannot tell exactly right now,” Chen said through his interpreter prior to Tuesday’s game. “I feel like I am pitching in spring training — step by step. But if I feel really good next outing, I will definitely come back soon.”

It hasn’t been determined whether Chen will make his rehab start for Norfolk, Bowie, or Frederick as all three affiliates are playing at home on Saturday.

Roberts begins rehab stint, Reimold struggling with his

Second baseman Brian Roberts was leading off and playing second base for Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday night as he officially begins his rehab assignment following last month’s surgery on his right hamstring.

Showalter has said Roberts will play a minimum of three games for the Tides but acknowledged the veteran infielder could need more time to get used to live-game action again after being sidelined since April 4.

Meanwhile, outfielder Nolan Reimold continued his rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie on Tuesday as he tries to right himself at the plate.

The 29-year-old was just 2-for-25 with 10 strikeouts in his first seven games with the Baysox as both he and the organization decided it was best for him to receive more at-bats before potentially being activated from the 15-day disabled list. Reimold was placed on the DL on May 18 with a right hamstring injury that’s kept him sidelined since May 11.

S. Johnson slow to heal

Right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson continues to make slow progress as he recovers from a left oblique injury.

He recently began throwing on flat ground, but the 25-year-old doesn’t appear to be particularly close to getting back on a mound in Sarasota.

“It’s been tough. He’s battling some things down there,” Showalter said. “He’s gotten progressively better, but it’s a little slower than I hoped. It’s been a challenge for him conditioning all year because of some of the things that have kept him from it. So, I hope he’s using that time. We’ll see if he is using it.”

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Orioles shut down top pitching prospect Bundy once again

Posted on 25 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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As if a fourth consecutive loss on Monday wasn’t bad enough, the Orioles have once again shut down top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy.

The 20-year-old was in the midst of a throwing progression in Sarasota after a six-week layoff that followed a platelet-rich plasma injection administered by renowned orthopedic Dr. James Andrews in late April. The right-hander had progressed to throwing from 120 feet and appeared to be on the verge of getting back on the mound before once again experiencing discomfort in his right forearm and elbow.

At least that was the perception created by manager Buck Showalter earlier in the day before MASN first reported the news after the loss.

“Dylan’s still not on the mound yet, but he’s doing all his work and feels fine,” Showalter said prior to Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians. “I haven’t heard something different than what he’s doing. I know 120 [feet] was about as far as [he’s gone]. I think the next step is to go on the mound, but I intentionally don’t ask that question. I leave that in [the training staff’s] hands.”

Bundy will be examined by team orthopedic Dr. John Wilckens in Baltimore on Tuesday and is expected to be seen by Dr. Andrews again. He was diagnosed with flexor mass tightness in the forearm, but an MRI on his elbow showed no structural damage before he received the PRP injection and was ordered to rest for six weeks.

The 2011 first-round pick hasn’t pitched since spring training.

Showalter said following Monday’s game that outfielder Steve Pearce received a cortisone injection in his left wrist and will go to Sarasota later this week.



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Roberts returns to Baltimore for “homestretch” of recovery process

Posted on 10 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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BALTIMORE — Injured second baseman Brian Roberts hadn’t been spotted in the Orioles clubhouse since early April when he was placed on the disabled list with a right hamstring injury, but the 35-year-old is glad to be home.

Even if he’s still a few weeks away from a potential return to major league action.

After rejoining the club during its three-game series against Tampa Bay over the weekend, Roberts has elected to continue his rehabilitation efforts in Baltimore after spending most of the last two months in Sarasota. The 35-year-old underwent surgery less than five weeks ago and described himself as being in the “home stretch” of the recovery process before going on a minor-league rehab assignment.

“It’s great to be back,” Roberts said. “You feel kind of isolated on an island down there. It is already good to be around the guys and feel like you are part of the team.”

Roberts has increased his activity level over the last couple weeks as he is taking batting practice, playing catch, and continuing to test his surgically-repaired hamstring as he works his way back to running at full speed. Roberts reiterated Monday what he said over the weekend about not anticipating a lengthy rehab assignment like the one he completed last year while returning from concussion-like symptoms.

Manager Buck Showalter seemed to agree with that assessment as long as Roberts felt he was ready, mentioning three to seven games as possible estimate. Meanwhile, Roberts is focused on testing the hamstring to make sure it’s 100 percent before he takes the next step of playing in minor-league games.

“Mainly the running progression,” Roberts said. “Just continuing to build up to where you can be explosive again [and] where you can cut, you can stop, you can backpedal. The running has really taken some good steps forward in the last couple of days and I’m hoping that is a sign we have reached the point where things can started moving a little quicker.”

Roberts hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring in St. Petersburg on April 4 and is fully aware of the doubts expressed over his ability to remain healthy as the Orioles have struggled to find production at second base with the combination of Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla. The veteran infielder has played in just 118 games over the last four seasons combined.

For now, he’s happy to be back in a big-league environment while in the midst of the final year of a four-year, $40 million that obviously hasn’t worked out how either side had hoped.

“Nothing compares to being in this atmosphere,” Roberts said. “I don’t know how much longer I have left to be in it, and I want to be around it as much as possible.”

NOTES: Right-handed pitcher Dylan Bundy began a throwing progression in Sarasota on Monday, completing 25 throws from 60 feet without experiencing any discomfort, according to Showalter. … Outfielder Nolan Reimold (hamstring) could be ready to go on a minor-league rehab assignment by the end of the current homestand. Showalter offered a similar range of games for Reimold as he spelled out for Roberts. … Left-handed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen will be summoned to Baltimore as soon as he’s ready to begin throwing off a mound, according to Showalter, which should be in the not-too-distant future barring any setbacks. …Casilla was not in the starting lineup after jamming his right index finger sliding into second base on Sunday. Showalter revealed that he likely would have started Casilla against the Angels after the utility infielder went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the series finale against the Rays.

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Chen, Bundy each taking big steps in potential returns; All-Star voting update

Posted on 03 June 2013 by Luke Jones

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As the Orioles enjoyed some much-needed rest and a travel day on Monday, they also received good news for two important pieces of their pitching puzzle who have been sidelined recently.

According to interpreter Tim Lin through his Twitter account, left-handed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen will take part in his first light-toss session in Sarasota on Tuesday to test the progress made from a strained right oblique that’s kept him sidelined for just over three weeks. Manager Buck Showalter revealed late last week that Chen reported no discomfort whatsoever for the first time last week and the pitcher had begun jogging work in a pool.

Chen hasn’t picked up a ball since leaving his start against the Minnesota Twins as strained obliques are often a difficult injury to rehab due to a bigger fear of setbacks. Showalter said Sunday that a mid-June return would be the best-case scenario for the Taiwanese southpaw, but the Orioles are expected to remain cautious to avoid the possibility of re-injury.

The Orioles will have a chance to reunite with Chen this weekend as they travel to St. Petersburg for a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Meanwhile, top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy will also begin a throwing progression on June 10 after a followup exam with the renowned Dr. James Andrews on Monday, the club announced.

The fourth overall pick of the 2011 draft hasn’t pitched since spring training due to discomfort in his right forearm and received a platelet-rich plasma injection on April 29 that was followed by six weeks of rest. Should Bundy make it through the throwing program without any signs of pain or discomfort, the 20-year-old would presumably rejoin Double-A Bowie’s starting rotation.

Bundy and the Orioles had reported no discomfort and full range of motion with the elbow prior to Monday’s meeting with Dr. Andrews.

Davis, Jones among leaders in All-Star balloting

Having a career year with a .357 average, 20 home runs, and 52 RBIs, Chris Davis leads all American League first basemen in All-Star voting with a slight edge over Detroit’s Prince Fielder.

With just under 1.2 million votes in the update provided by Major League Baseball on Monday, Davis would become the first Orioles first baseman to start the Midsummer Classic since Eddie Murray in 1985.

Center fielder Adam Jones is second behind the Angels’ Mike Trouth in AL voting for outfielders, which means the 27-year-old would be one of the All-Star starters if voting concluded now. Jones is hitting .313 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs so far this season and is a two-time All-Star.

Right fielder Nick Markakis is sixth among AL outfielders while left fielder Nate McLouth currently ranks seventh.

Third baseman Manny Machado ranks second in the voting at his position, trailing only 2012 Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, who leads in the overall AL vote. The 20-year-old is hitting .327 with a major-league-leading 25 doubles in his first full season in the major leagues.

Matt Wieters currently trails only Minnesota’s Joe Mauer among AL catchers and is vying for his third consecutive All-Star appearance.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy is second in voting at his position, narrowly behind Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers.

Despite playing in just three games this season before suffering a right hamstring injury, Brian Roberts ranks fifth among AL second basemen.

Sunday home game against Yankees moved to Sunday Night Baseball

The Orioles’ June 30 home game against the New York Yankees has been moved from 1:35 p.m. to 8:05 p.m. and will be a nationally-televised event on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

Baltimore and New York squared off on a Sunday night in the Bronx back in April.

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Orioles recall Flaherty, option Navarro to Triple-A Norfolk

Posted on 29 May 2013 by Luke Jones

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BALTIMORE — It just wouldn’t be the Orioles if they went too many days without making a roster move as second baseman Ryan Flaherty was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk prior to Wednesday’s game against Washington.

The decision raised more than a few eyebrows as the club optioned infielder Yamaico Navarro and his .286 average to Triple-A Norfolk in favor of Flaherty, who was hitting .133 when he was sent to the minors on May 18. Manager Buck Showalter hopes the brief stint with the Tides provided the necessary confidence boost to the 26-year-old infielder after he clubbed two home runs and hit .265 in 34 at-bats over the last eight games. Flaherty posted multi-hit games in four of the eight contests he played at Triple A.

Reports from Norfolk manager Ron Johnson and his staff said Flaherty was handling the breaking ball much better than he was upon being demoted, but Showalter acknowledged you never know whether that will continue to apply at the next level. Critics will certainly question whether eight minor-league contests were truly enough to fix Flaherty’s ailments, but the second baseman told reporters he thought the opportunity to make adjustments in a pressure-free environment helped significantly.

Showalter said at the time of his demotion that the hope was for Flaherty to “get his legs back under him” with the Tides.

“We know the stuff is a little better here,” Showalter said. “He’s handled the breaking ball a little better. We’ll see how it plays. The good thing about him is he’s defending. We just wanted to see him get some good at-bats. It’s what was needed at the time. I hope he benefited from it.”

In his eight games with the Orioles, Navarro has shown potential at the plate but has been erratic in the field, making a few nice plays mixed in with two errors at second base. Showalter and the Orioles clearly value defense to complement a struggling pitching staff that includes several ground-ball pitchers.

The club would be more inclined to give veteran Alexi Casilla more opportunities at second base due to his strong defense, but his .183 average hasn’t exactly screamed for more playing time and the organization sees more upside with Flaherty at the plate. Showalter said the switch-hitting Casilla will continue to be in the mix, likely receiving starts against left-handed pitchers as he was doing before Flaherty’s demotion.

“[Flaherty] understands this is not an open-ended ticket,” Showalter said. “Play better. The one thing I want to see is him be a consistent force for us defensively.”

In other news, pitching prospect Dylan Bundy has a followup appointment with Dr. James Andrews regarding his right forearm and elbow. Bundy received a platelet-rich plasma injection a month ago and has a full range of motion with the elbow after rest. Showalter told reporters the 20-year-old pitcher hasn’t experienced any pain in the last week, signs indicating he could begin throwing very soon.

“I think that’s the final thing for [Dr. Andrews] to sign off on,” Showalter said.

Infield prospect Jonathan Schoop received a second opinion on the stress fracture in his lower back on Wednesday that provided a slightly more optimistic prognosis of four weeks of rest. The hope is that the 21-year-old could be back playing in five to six weeks, which would have him back in action at around the All-Star break.

Reliever Pedro Strop completed a unique workout at his old position of shortstop Wednesday afternoon in an effort for the pitcher to refine as well as repeat his throwing motion. The struggling reliever was placed on the 15-day disabled list over the weekend with what was listed as a lower back strain, an ailment many have viewed as a veiled excuse to allow the club to work on Strop’s 6.11 earned run average and failures on the mound.

The move does not signal a position change for Strop, who broke into professional baseball as a shortstop but hit .207 in 633 plate appearances in the minors.

Starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen continues to improve from a strained right oblique, but the lefty isn’t pain-free just yet, according to Showalter.

Injured infielders Brian Roberts and Wilson Betemit are each hitting off a tee and throwing as they continue their respective rehabs in Sarasota.

Catcher Taylor Teagarden caught seven innings in an extended spring game on Wednesday and could be sent out on a minor-league rehab assignment as early as Thursday.

Outfielder Nolan Reimold continues to rehab his right hamstring and told reporters that he’s spent some of his time rehabbing at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The 29-year-old says he is now running but not at full speed just yet. The timetable for his return remains unknown, but Reimold said it “won’t be forever.”

Not exactly much clarity in that statement.

Showalter also echoed what he said following Tuesday’s loss in Washington that rookie Kevin Gausman will once again start for the Orioles on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers.

“He’s a mature guy,” Showalter said. “He’s going to seek his level. There’s a process. Talent plays. If you’re good enough, you can’t hide it.”

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Right decision or not, Orioles were prepared to promote Gausman

Posted on 23 May 2013 by Luke Jones

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Less than 48 hours after news broke that the Orioles were promoting Kevin Gausman to the big leagues, it’s safe to say the hype machine has been in overdrive ever since.

Hours before his Thursday night debut in Toronto, fans and media continued to debate the merits of whether Gausman should be in the majors after making just eight starts for Double-A Bowie and 13 professional starts overall. The decision is viewed by some as an act of desperation as Gausman becomes the 11th starting pitcher the Orioles have sent to the hill before Memorial Day as part of a struggling rotation.

Some have even gone as far as debating how much money Gausman will command as a “Super Two” arbitration-eligible player — before he even threw his first pitch in the major leagues.

I even heard a rumor earlier Thursday that the powdered mini-donuts the 22-year-old right-hander likes to superstitiously eat between innings will be renamed “Gausmans” in tribute to the former LSU standout.

Truthfully, there’s no way of knowing whether executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette is making the right call in promoting the 2012 first-round pick less than a year after he was taken with the fourth overall selection of the amateur draft. His performance against the Blue Jays on Thursday night doesn’t change that, either.

The comparisons have already been made with last August’s promotion of 20-year-old third baseman Manny Machado, but no two players are the same. What that decision did tell you, however, was the Orioles’ willingness to take calculated risks with players in their farm system in order to win.

Conventional wisdom suggests even a college pitcher isn’t ready for the big leagues after 13 starts in the minors, but nothing about Gausman’s ability appears conventional. A mid-to-upper-90s fastball and superb changeup projected Gausman as a top draft pick last year, but the improvement of his slider as a real factor in his repertoire was exactly what the Orioles needed to see.

“I definitely improved,” said Gausman of his time with Double-A Bowie. “I think the biggest thing has probably been my slider improved more than anything, just being able to throw it in different situations. I’ve talked kind of all year about kind of learning different ways to throw it in different situations, so that’s definitely something I’ve learned how to do more than anything else.”

Even in spring training, the Orioles took an extra-long look at Gausman, which provided all the information you needed to know that he was a real option for the 2013 season and the club wanted to expose him to the major-league clubhouse. Appearing in seven Grapefruit League games and making two starts, Gausman pitched to a 3.94 earned run average in 16 innings of work before he was finally reassigned to minor-league camp on March 28. Some were already convinced he was one of their best five starting pitchers, but there were enough imperfections in addition to his lack of experience that made it clear Gausman would start the season in the minors.

Unlike fellow top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy last season, the older Gausman showed superb command (49 strikeouts to five walks) at Double-A Bowie and has a solid time to the plate, the latter being a major point of emphasis for the organization that augments All-Star catcher Matt Wieters’ ability to throw out so many runners on the bases. Gausman fields his position well and pitched in more pressure situations in the Southeastern Conference than the typical minor leaguer encounters at any level shy of the majors.

“We’ll see how it plays up here,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys that had low walk totals not have them up here. I’ve seen guys have high walk totals down there, and with more aggressive hitters, they went down up here. It’s a different kind of hitter up here. They’re here because they can hit. So, we’ll see.”

Do any of those strengths mean Gausman is ready for prime time? Of course not, but you never really know if a prospect is ready until he advances to a higher level, regardless of how dramatic the jump. It’s the reason why so many “can’t-miss” prospects have missed over the years. It’s an inexact science and as Showalter likes to often remind us, these are human beings with emotions and games aren’t played on paper.

Would another four weeks or two months really do that much to help Gausman if he’s already the best option the Orioles have among their starters in the minor leagues? His ability to improve his slider in such a short span of time reflects the kind of learning curve that should allow Gausman to make adjustments quickly as major league hitters learn the book on him over his first handful of starts.

It’s impossible not to have at least the slightest concern of rushing Gausman too quickly and hurting his psyche, but Showalter took a pragmatic approach in addressing that very question on Wednesday. And everything about Gausman suggests he’s a confident young man who’s up to the challenge mentally.

“It’s like I’ve said many times, you can’t screw up the good ones,” Showalter said. “They’re going to seek their level. And we think Kevin sooner or later will seek his level. We hope it’s soon.”

Yes, his quick route to the majors raises eyebrows and goes against the norm, but the Orioles think they have someone extraordinary on their hands who breaks the mold of conventional.

Thursday night does nothing in determining whether Gausman is truly ready or not, but the right-hander did everything within his power to make a difficult decision as easy as possible for the organization. And they were willing to pull the trigger when it became apparent that Gausman was their best option from below.

“I’m trying not to think about it too much and just go out there and keep doing what I’ve been doing,” Gausman said prior to his first career start. “Throw strikes and just try to pitch my game.”

Perhaps not thinking about it too much is good advice for us all if his talent is as special as advertised.


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Top prospect Bundy receives PRP injection, will rest six weeks

Posted on 29 April 2013 by Luke Jones

Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy won’t be returning to the mound in the near future but will avoid surgery for now following a visit with renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews on Monday.

As was the case with pitcher Zach Britton’s left shoulder last March, Bundy received a platelet-rich plasma injection to strengthen his right forearm that’s given him problems since the end of spring training. Bundy was shut down earlier this month and found the tightness in his forearm was still there after he attempted to begin a throwing program last week.

Per his request, the Orioles sent Bundy to Dr. Andrews on Monday, who prescribed the injection followed by six weeks of rest. Manager Buck Showalter said last week that Bundy is dealing with flexor mass tightness, but a previous MRI showed no structural damage to his pitching elbow.

Bundy saw team orthopedist Dr. James Wilckens last week before traveling to see Dr. Andrews on Monday. For now, Bundy will remain in Sarasota as he continues to rehab the elbow and forearm.

In many cases, PRP therapy involves more than one injection, but it is unknown whether that will be the case with Bundy. The procedure carries no tangible risk but has had varying degrees of success for many patients.

The good news for now is that Bundy will avoid going under the knife, but that doesn’t mean surgery wouldn’t be an option down the line if the injection and extended rest doesn’t provide the remedy.

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Drew’s Morning Dish — Wed., April 24

Posted on 24 April 2013 by Drew Forrester

Well, that’s the end of Dylan Bundy’s career.


I’m kidding.

While I’ll admit it’s never good to see your name linked with Dr. James Andrews, unless he’s getting you on at Augusta National, I wouldn’t be overly concerned with Bundy’s visit to see the good doctor.

He fixes people, in case you haven’t heard.

And even if they find something structurally unsound in his forearm, that’s what Andrews is there for…to get it right.

Lots of folks will panic over Tuesday’s news, but let’s allow it to all play out and then go from there.  It’s not like Bundy was going to come up in July and go 11-2 in his 13 starts with a 2.49 ERA.  That just wasn’t going to happen.  So, this Orioles team won’t be affected at all by any decision made by Dr. Andrews.

Get the kid’s arm fixed and let’s move on.


Nice work by the Capitals on Tuesday night to fend off a pesky Winnipeg team and win the Southeast Division with that 5-3 win in D.C.

That was a hockey player’s game on Tuesday.  In fact, really, it closely resembled “playoff hockey”, which hopefully prepares the Caps for what lies ahead in May.

The work Ovechkin put in on the game-clinching empty net goal was an indication that his effort level has drastically changed under Adam Oates.  He started the whole play twenty seconds earlier by applying pressure near the middle of the ice as a loose puck rolled back in the Winnipeg end.  Ovi kept fighting along the boards long enough for Backstrom to come in behind him and get involved in the play.  As a loose puck appeared and Backstrom swooped in to collect it, Ovechkin realized he was going to be in an offsides position and hustled some fifteen feet or so back into the neutral zone.  Now onside, The Great Eight collected a nice pass from Backstrom and slapped it in from 35 feet for the backbreaker.

This time two years ago, I’m not sure Ovechkin would have put in that kind of effort.

For sure, last season, Dale Hunter would have been mad at Backstrom and Ovechkin for both being in the offensive end of the ice at the same time.


I’m guessing the Ravens haven’t cut Rolando McClain yet because they’d rather not give away their position prior to Thursday’s NFL draft.

In other words, if they cut him, they’re letting 31 other teams know they’re linebacker-shopping again.

I assume sometime next week he’ll be gone.


I mean, I realize he went to Alabama and all, but Ozzie’s not really going to keep Rolando McClain, is he?


That Stephen Curry kid can really shoot the basketball.

And, because he didn’t go to Duke, he’s actually likeable.

Everything about him looks Duke-ish, and it’s hard to believe Coach K didn’t get him, but he somehow flew under the radar screen and wound up at Davidson of all places.

But he can absolutely shoot the ball as well as anyone I’ve seen in a long time.

And those jerseys they’re wearing in Golden State…wow x 5!  How they ever lose a game wearing those duds, I have no idea.


Hey, did you read that story about the two Flyers fans who both wound up getting Rhodes Scholarship offers in the same year?

Yeah, me neither.


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