Did everyone dig out of the blizzard and find their cars and children?
I wrote on Thursday that Dylan Bundy threw his first bullpen session last week. Full mound, 20 fastballs and no pain in his right shoulder or forearm.
Bundy had been throwing off flat ground from 150 feet before moving to a half-mound at the minicamp and firing 15 fastballs.
“Arm’s healthy,” Bundy said during his phone interview on the “Hot Stove Show” on 105.7 The Fan. “I just got on a mound this week for the first time. Arm’s healthy and I’m feeling good.”
You know by now that Bundy is out of minor league options and must make the club out of spring training. He’s ticketed for the bullpen after being shut down at Double-A Bowie with a sore shoulder and again in the Arizona Fall League with tightness in his forearm.
“I wasn’t too worried getting on the mound for the first time in the offseason, but I wasn’t too worried about it in the fall league, either,” said Bundy the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft out of Owasso High School in Oklahoma.
“I knew it was just a little inflammation, nothing to be worried about. But right now I’m just working on my mechanics and repeating my delivery a little better.”
Bundy said he wasn’t throwing at more than 70 percent effort at the minicamp. His full-mound session consisted of 20 fastballs “right down the middle.” He can turn it loose later.
“I’m not really trying to hit any certain spot,” he said. “Just right down the middle right now and working on my mechanics.”
Less work has proven to be more beneficial to Bundy, 23, who needed to take his foot off the gas and not risk further injury. Manager Buck Showalter and the coaches have been preaching patience to a kid who is baseball’s equivalent of a gym rat.
“You can’t rush something when you’re hurt,” Bundy said. “You definitely can’t throw a baseball if you’re hurt or have some kind of tweak.
“It’s taking me quite a long time to realize that. You have to listen to what your body’s telling you, and if you’re sore that day, take a day and don’t throw or take a day off from lifting and take care of yourself.”
As I wrote at minicamp, Bundy can’t wait to reach the point where reporters gather at his locker to ask about his results instead of his recovery. But it’s been this way since his Tommy John surgery in 2013.
“That’s what I’m hoping for this season, quit getting asked about if my arm’s healthy or not and just talk more about baseball and pitching,” Bundy said.
There will be a steady flow of questions in spring training about his bullpen role and the Orioles’ inability to send him down without passing him through waivers.
“Even though that’s what my contract says, I still want to earn a spot. I don’t want it to be given to me,” said Bundy, who made two relief appearances with the Orioles in September 2012.
“I definitely want to go in there and perform well and compete like I would if I was trying to make the team with options.”
Bundy doesn’t anticipate any issues going from starter to reliever.
“It’s something I’ll have to get used to again, but it’s just kind of shortening your routine and not being able to throw long-toss before the game,” he said. “You’ve just got to get used to warming up quicker at 60 feet, 6 inches instead of 120 feet or 150 feet as a starter.”
A starter’s routine should come back to Bundy down the road. He’s still projected as a future member of the rotation, but he needs to build up innings. It isn’t a consideration this year.
“I try not to look into the future that far ahead,” Bundy said after I suggested that 2017 could be the target date to start again. “I’m looking more toward spring training right now. But, yeah, get some innings under my belt out of the ‘pen and then if I can be a starter the next year, that would make me happy.
“I’m looking forward to learning from the veteran guys like Darren O’Day. Sitting out there in the bullpen, you can learn a lot just watching the games. Without even pitching in them, you can learn a lot.
“The main point is getting hitters out and it doesn’t really matter what your role is as long as you get hitters out.”
And the only way to do it is if you’re healthy, a thought that crossed his mind in the AFL.
“Yeah, at first it was Tommy John and I got over that and I came back and I felt good about the surgery,” he said. “The next thing you know, it’s my shoulder, and then in the fall league this year, it was my forearm, and I thought I was already over that. You’ve got to stay patient and take things as they’re given to you and progress.
“As far as maturity, I just know what my body can and cannot take and I know when to say something about my arm when something’s not right, and that’s kind of like what I did in Arizona. I said something, just being cautious, because I didn’t want to go through another Tommy John if that was the case. Just being mature and knowing what my body can take.”
In the Orioles’ perfect world, their first-round picks in a three-year stretch will progress to the point where they’re productive starters - Bundy in 2011, Kevin Gausman in 2012 and Hunter Harvey in 2013. Bundy and Gausman were selected with the fourth pick and Harvey with the 22nd.
Gausman will break camp in the rotation, and Harvey, if healthy after missing the 2015 season, will be assigned to Single-A Delmarva or Frederick. Bundy can be a multi-inning reliever this summer.
He remains the No. 1 prospect in the organization. There’s still time to become their No. 1 starter.
Note: Former Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen tweeted the following message this morning:
I want to thank the Orioles’ coaches, staffs, my former teammates, and especially the fans for supporting me over the past 4 years.-- Wei-Yin Chen（一生懸命） (@WeiYinChen16) January 25, 2016
We shared many unforgettable memories including my first MLB game; first MLB playoff game-- Wei-Yin Chen（一生懸命） (@WeiYinChen16) January 25, 2016
AL East Champion; winning the ALDS and many others... These moments will always be valuable and important to me. I will miss you!-- Wei-Yin Chen（一生懸命） (@WeiYinChen16) January 25, 2016