Bundy back on the mound as a starter

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - While the Orioles continue to search for ways to improve their rotation, they also remain interested in adding a left-handed reliever. They want to find out whether Donnie Hart can be used in matchup situations, but they also are checking outside the organization.

One interesting name to consider is Eric O’Flaherty, currently on the Braves disabled list with a strained right knee. He’s on an injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett and threw a perfect inning in his first outing.

The Braves bullpen may be too crowded for O’Flaherty and the Orioles previously have been interested in him. He’s held left-handers to a .215 average in 11 major league seasons.

Plus, imagine having O’Flaherty, Darren O’Day and Ryan Flaherty in the same clubhouse.

The Royals released veteran lefty Joe Beimel over the weekend. He had been pitching at Triple-A Omaha.

Beimel, 39, held left-handed hitters to a .188 average with the Mariners in 2014, but they hit .280 the following season.

Beimel agreed to a minor league deal with the Marlins in May, but it fell through after the physical.

Hart is waiting to make his major league debut. Manager Buck Showalter is waiting for the right spot to challenge the rookie.

dylan-bundy-white.jpgThe bullpen could be busy today with Dylan Bundy making his first career major league start, and his first start of any kind since May 21, 2015 with Double-A Bowie. The game was played in Trenton and the Thunder won 1-0 in 13 innings in a battle of top pitching prospects. Bundy tossed four scoreless and Luis Severino tossed five hitless.

Someone is going to piggyback Bundy today. Vance Worley, Odrisamer Despaigne and Ubaldo Jimenez are available in long relief.

Bundy faced the Rays on June 26 and shut them out over three innings in a 12-5 win. He allowed two hits and struck out four batters.

The current group is 1-for-6 against him, with Brad Miller owning the only hit.

Bundy hasn’t thrown more than 57 pitches, a total he reached against the Rays. He threw 56 pitches over 2 1/3 innings on July 6 at Dodger Stadium.

Right-handers are hitting .320 against Bundy and left-handers are hitting .289. He’s posted a 2.79 ERA in 11 home games over 19 1/3 innings and a 3.38 ERA in 11 road games over 18 2/3 innings. Opponents batted .314 against him in April, .373 in May and .236 in June.

Opponents are 20-for-56 (.357) when swinging at the first pitch. They’re 10-for-48 (.208) with 11 strikeouts with runners in scoring position and 5-for-23 (.217) with runners in scoring position and two outs.

Bundy hasn’t entered a game before the fifth inning. He’ll be on the mound today in the bottom of the first.

“Kind of funny,” Showalter said. “The starter leaves for the day game after the fifth inning. Wally (Dave Wallace) makes them say, ‘Hey, I’m leaving.’ He was real sheepish about it. He’s going, ‘Do I go to the bullpen or the dugout?’ He’s been in the dugout the past two days.

“I think we’re all, I wouldn’t say anxiously, just looking forward to ... You think about all the trials Dylan has fought his way through to get back to this opportunity. So regardless of what happens, it’s got a lot of good things about it.”

Jake Odorizzi, another Rays pitcher attracting scouts to Tropicana Field, is making his 20th start of the season. He’s failed to complete six innings in his last four outings and six of seven.

So far this month, Odorizzi has allowed 11 runs and 15 hits over 10 1/3 innings. He’s faced the Orioles three times this season, allowing four runs and nine hits in six innings on April 10, one run and seven hits in five innings on April 26 and five runs and eight hits in five innings on June 25.

Odorizzi is a reverse-splits guy, with left-handers batting .214 against him and right-handers batting .275. He’s posted a 3.90 ERA in 10 home starts and a 5.17 ERA in nine road starts.

Odorizzi is 2-3 with a 5.02 ERA in 11 career games (10 starts) versus the Orioles. Adam Jones is 10-for-25 with a double and two home runs, Mark Trumbo is 5-for-9 with a double and Jonathan Schoop is 4-for-13 with a double.

Manny Machado is 7-for-25 with two home runs. Caleb Joseph, who probably will catch today following a night game, is 1-for-10.

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