Marquee matchup: Dylan Bundy vs. Matt Barnes tonight at Delmarva

They have been two of the best pitchers in the Single-A South Atlantic League this year, and tonight they face each other at Salisbury’s Perdue Stadium when the Delmarva Shorebirds host the Greenville Drive.

It’s Dylan Bundy making his fourth start for the Shorebirds and right-hander Matt Barnes for Greenville, a Red Sox affiliate. The two pitchers were both first-round picks last year, with Bundy No. 4 and Barnes No. 19, and have combined to pitch 25 shutout innings this season.

The 19-year-old Bundy has still not allowed a hit or run and just one walk over his first nine innings in the Orioles organization. He had retired the first 26 batters to face him over three outings before issuing a walk in his last game. He has fanned 15 batters so far and tonight will make what is scheduled to be the first of three starts going four innings.

The 21-year-old Barnes was drafted out of the University of Connecticut last June by Boston. Over 16 innings, he has given up just six hits with two walks and 25 strikeouts.

Here is the combined pitching line of Bundy and Barnes so far:

25 innings
6 hits and .074 batting average against (6-for-54 vs. Barnes, 0-for-27 vs. Bundy)
0 runs
3 walks
40 strikeouts

Yes, that is a marquee minor league matchup and I will be there to cover tonight’s game. Look for pregame, in-game and postgame reporting tonight from Salisbury here at and also follow my updates on Twitter @masnsteve.

Other minor league notes:

* It appears that right-hander Joel Pineiro is getting closer to being activated. When the Orioles signed him to a minor league contract April 11, executive vice president Dan Duquette said he could wind up in Triple-A Norfolk’s rotation and reporters speculated that he could eventually become the long reliever the Orioles are currently missing in their bullpen.

Pineiro went 7-7 with a 5.13 ERA for the Angels last year over 145 2/3 innings. In 2010, he went 10-7 with a 3.54 ERA for Los Angeles. He was released during spring training by the Phillies.

* Billy Rowell is about three weeks into a 30-day throwing program the Orioles have him on in Sarasota, Fla., as he converts from a position player to a pitcher. The next step for the club’s 2006 top draft pick is not set yet and it is not known if or when he will pitch in extended spring games in Florida. The club hopes he can progress to the point where he can come north and pitch for an affiliate, even if that turns out to be a short-season club like Aberdeen when the IronBirds begin play in June.

* Double-A Bowie left-hander Jake Pettit got another win last night, pitching five shutout innings as the Baysox beat Akron 2-0. Pettit has not lost over his last 17 starts, dating to an outing last July 3 for Delmarva against Lakewood.

Since his promotion to Frederick not long after that game, Pettit has pitched very well for both the Keys and Baysox. His fastball probably doesn’t make it into the 90s, but he has some solid secondary pitches led by a plus changeup.

In 10 regular season starts for the Keys in 2011, Pettit went 7-0 with an ERA of 1.62. He then went 2-0 with an ERA of 1.50 in two Carolina League playoff starts. He has begun this year by going 3-0 with an ERA of 1.57 in four Double-A starts.

Add that up and you get a record of 12-0 and ERA of 1.57 over his past 16 starts between Frederick and Bowie. Over 90 2/3 innings in that stretch, Pettit has given up 66 hits with 24 walks and 61 strikeouts with a batting average against of just .211.

The 25-year-old was a 42nd-round pick in 2010 out of Western Oregon State College. He doesn’t seem to make any top prospects lists, but since getting to Frederick last July he has been outstanding now between two levels and is someone to watch as the 2012 season moves along.

Sometimes it is about more than just a blazing fastball and Pettit has been proving that.

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