Dylan Bundy had Tommy John surgery June 27 of last year and targeted a return to baseball in 12 months. In two weeks less time, Bundy is back to action in the Orioles’ farm system and he couldn’t be more excited.
“I was just going to be happy to be back out here by June 27 and I got out of Florida two weeks early,” Bundy said. “That’s the main goal, going out there and working on my pitches and getting comfortable pitching in front of fans and live hitters again.”
After pitching 14-15 innings in extended spring training, Bundy got the nod to be promoted to the Aberdeen Ironbirds, a short-season Class-A affiliate of the Orioles. When he takes the mound, it’ll be the first time since Sept. 25, 2012, when he pitched an inning for the Orioles.
He’s scheduled to start this weekend in Staten Island and return to pitch in Aberdeen next weekend. Bundy said he’ll pitch three to four times before making a decision as to what to do next.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be around a small part of this rehab and he’s really been working his tail off the past year or so,” Ironbirds Head Coach Matt Merullo said. “I’m real happy for him for how far he’s come along and I know he’s looking forward to getting out there and competing again.”
Bundy has been getting comfortable throwing on a mound again in Sarasota, Fl. and says he’s confident after putting together two strong simulated starts. In one of his starts, he went four scoreless innings, pitching 72 pitches. He’ll be kept to a five-inning, 75-pitch limit in Aberdeen.
In terms of the future for Bundy, he said there is no structured plan as to when he could move up to different classes or the majors. However, he said he thinks there is a chance he could sport an Orioles uniform this year.
“I’d say it’s realistic,” Bundy said. “I just want to get through my rehab process healthy and get out there competing again. The rest will take care of itself. I want to rush it, but then again, I don’t. “
Bundy, whose fastball clocked in in the mid-90’s before the surgery, said his fastball is reaching 92-93 mph on the pitch. His command has also picked up as he continued pitching in extended spring training.
“As long as my arm feels good, the velocity will come,” Bundy said. “That’s not really a huge thing for me right now. Mainly the way my arm feels and if I’m making my secondary pitches and locating my fastball.”
At Aberdeen, Bundy will work with Merullo and Pitching Coach Justin Lord. Both catchers currently on the Ironbirds’ roster; Alex Murphy and Tanner Murphy, have caught Bundy in Florida.
Merullo says that Bundy’s call up will be a sort of “celebration” for those who worked with him in Sarasota.
“They’ll all be watching closely from afar and they’ll be pulling for him,” Merullo said. “It’s a neat feeling when someone gets back out there on the mound. We’re professional competitors and he’s kind of getting the chains unleashed and able to get out there.”
As for Bundy, he believes he can regain the form that made him the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball in earl 2013.
“I feel like I can be the same as I used to be,” he said. “It just takes time, that’s all.”