Manager Buck Showalter seemed pretty excited about the Orioles selecting pitcher Dylan Bundy with the fourth-overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft.
“It was a great pick,” he said. “We’re ecstatic because I’ve heard Joe (Jordan) talk about him. We knew there was going to be some shuffling around there, and Joe and the guys, they’re already locked into tomorrow, I’m sure. I’m anxious to see who might have slid and what they do. It’s a fascinating process.
“From everything I’ve heard from Joe, he’s a guy that we had strongly considered for a long time. I’m not real sure how it would’ve fallen if somebody else would’ve been there. We’re real excited about getting the Bundy family, having our family of Bundys grow. I should’ve put that differently. It reminds me of the Steinbrenner story. We kept drafting the wrong brother for years. We drafted Ozzie Canseco, we drafted Jose, I’ll give you about 10 of them. He finally told the scouts, ‘Just draft the whole family, keep you guys from screwing up.’ So, does he have any brothers? I bet he has a sister who can play, too. Take her. But we’re getting a package deal. I’m excited. Hopefully, we can get him in the fold and get on with his career.
“We all sit in there and watch tape, but you can’t tell. Tape is such a fooler, you know, just to get eyes on him. You trust the people there with him. Joe’s been in the house with him and spoke with him and his family. That’s as much of an evaluator as the skill set, and the skill set’s pretty impressive.”
So was tonight’s bullpen. Jim Johnson, Koji Uehara and Kevin Gregg combined for 3 2/3 perfect innings. Johnson started a double play to end the sixth after replacing starter Brian Matusz.
“If you look at J.J., he did pitch an inning-plus, and also allows us to bring in one of our better pitchers in what could be the situation of the ballgame there, first and second,” Showalter said. “None of those guys I believe are in the league leaders in appearances, which bodes well for trying to keep them healthy because they’ll be very tough for us to replace. It makes it tough if there’s a breakdown in the chain, but when you can keep them rested and around the plate, you want the ball in their hands. It’s very important. It’s important to keep Kevin from going more than two days without pitching. His command’s pretty good.”
Showalter thought Matusz had a “very similar” outing to the first one in Seattle.
“In fact, it was pretty much the same,” Showalter said. “He spun the ball enough and got some outs with the changeup and he got into counts a few times and I thought tonight he gave into the count and threw some cutters that got him off the fastball in fastball counts and got some outs there. He was up a little more than he needs to be, but it was pretty much the same outing as last time out, I thought.
“He had some challenges each inning for the most part, but he had a couple good innings. Statistically, he was a good outing for him.”
Is the decrease in Matusz’s velocity a product of the long layoff?
“I hope so. We’ll see. I hope so,” Showalter said. “There’s two ways to look at it. The pitchability part of it has allowed him to defend himself through it against Seattle and Oakland. Hopefully, down the road...it’s not a given, but he’s shown the ability to pitch with different velocities.”
Asked if there’s concern over Matusz’s pure stuff, Showalter replied, “His breaking ball had good depth on it. His changeup, his arm speed’s good on that. I think we make the mistake, or at least some people do, of just judging things on where guys were. You wouldn’t really be asking that if he hadn’t showed you a lot more velocity at one point in his career. But most guys that you get, not necessarily Brian, but they all in their career go down. It’s not a normal thing to do, put your arm over your head and jerk it down violently 100 times every fifth day. But I feel confident that he can pitch effectively the way he is, obviously.”