SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles are hoping that 2016 is the year of Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey.
Bundy, the fourth overall pick in 2011 and Harvey, the team’s top draft choice in 2013, are both hoping for good things this season.
After being cleared at last month’s minicamp, both are ready to pitch. Because he’s out of options, Bundy will start the season in the bullpen as long as he’s healthy.
Harvey, who hasn’t pitched competitively since July 2014, may start the season at Frederick.
Bundy interrupted a question about playing catch with Parker Bridwell on Thursday and how good it felt.
“My arm? Yeah, actually go out there and work on pitches and not have to worry about my arm and get out there and compete,” Bundy said.
The 23-year-old Bundy, who quickly rose to the major leagues in Sept. 2012, but had Tommy John surgery in June 2013, is trying to return there.
“Any spot in the major leagues is a good spot,” Bundy said.
This year, Bundy will have to forget about starting.
“You don’t have five days in between, hopefully. As a bullpen guy, you never know when you’re going to get in the game. You’ve got more adrenaline, you’ve got to be able to control the adrenaline, you’ve got to throw an offspeed pitch first pitch of the outing that you come out, just stuff like that,” Bundy said.
Since his surgery, Bundy has pitched just 63 1/3 innings. Last year, he threw 22 innings at Bowie before he shut down in May with a right shoulder tendinitis.
He pitched briefly in the Arizona Fall League in November before he was shut down as a precaution. Bundy threw from the half-mound at minicamp.
“Every time you get hurt, you want to get back sooner and better, but you can’t rush these things. I’ve learned that over the past four, five years now,” Bundy said.
Harvey was hampered by a flexor mass strain in July 2014 at Delmarva, and broke a shin in a minor league spring training game last March. Because the flexor mass flared up, he ended up not pitching at all in 2015.
“I’ve been throwing since December and I haven’t had any pain, so I’m excited to get back going. Everything is full-go,” Harvey said.
Last year was extremely difficult for the 21-year-old.
“It was long. A lot of sitting down here and rehabbing. We’re trying to avoid that this year and see if we can stay healthy for a full year now,” Harvey said.
“You’ve just got to take care of yourself. Long year. How I got hurt the first time was, it just happened. You can’t really avoid that. The arm and stuff, you’ve just got to take care of it and try to keep going.”
A year ago, the Orioles were set to send Harvey to Frederick. Perhaps they’ll do the same this year.
“I hope so. I’m just trying to get out of spring training this year. Wherever they put me, it will work,” Harvey said.
Bundy doesn’t know if he’ll be pitching an inning at a time during spring training.
“I don’t know. They just told me I’m going to get plenty of mound time out there. I’m sure that means I’m going to be on the mound a lot,’ Bundy said.
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