Dylan Bundy has begun a light tossing program

Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy recently began a light throwing program in Florida and he is ahead of schedule in his return from June surgery.

In the last few days, Bundy began a light tossing program of 25 throws from about 60 feet every other day. His rehab throwing program will ramp up a bit more in January when he makes more throws at longer distances.

Bundy underwent ligament-reconstructive surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews on June 27. Dr. Andrews and O's minor league medical coordinator Dave Walker are overseeing his rehab.

Bundy went 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 23 games at three levels of the O's farm in 2012, with 119 strikeouts over 103 2/3 innings. After that season, he was ranked as baseball's No. 2 overall prospect by Baseball America. He even pitched in two games in relief for the Orioles that September. He became the first Oriole to debut before 20 since right-hander Mike Adamson on July 1, 1967.

O's officials have been impressed with how hard Bundy has worked during his rehab.

Even with his solid progress to date, this doesn't necessarily speed up the timetable for Bundy to return from the Tommy John surgery, according to O's executive vice president Dan Duquette.

"I'm not sure about that, I don't think it does," Duquette said. "But he's doing his work and working hard. There's a protocol you have to follow and he's following the protocol."

Some estimate that Bundy will begin the 2014 season at extended spring training. It could be about two months before he pitches in an affilaited game and that would likely be at lower levels of the minors while throwing just a few pitches at the start.

It seems a stretch to think Bundy could contribute to the 2014 Orioles, but with this kid's work ethic and the solid progress so far, it would also likely be a mistake to totally rule that out.

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