Dylan Bundy on his time in Aberdeen and some Orioles notes

Dylan Bundy is ready to move up from the New York-Penn League. That is obvious.

The Orioles’ No. 1 prospect according to Baseball America made his third start with short-season Single-A Aberdeen last night, throwing five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts against Hudson Valley.

Bundy was pitching from 90-94 mph and thought his secondary pitches were solid during his 70-pitch outing.

bundy winding up spring training sidebar.jpg“Curveball, I was a real happy with it,” he said. “Left a couple up in the fourth out of the zone, but other than that I was real happy with the curveball. Other than the one changeup the guy hit to left-center, I was happy with that. It was too firm at times, was throwing it like 87 to 89 which was pretty firm for where my fastball is.

“Definitely learned some things (with Aberdeen). Improved some things and still have more to improve to get to the level I want to be at. It is going to take some time to get back to where I used to be. Just have to keep working.”

What does Bundy still need to work on?

“There are about 10 things I need to work on,” he said. “But I just work on maybe one or two things in the bullpen (sessions). Bullpen last week, I worked on my times to home plate (with a runner on first base). They were really slow at 1.4 or 1.5 (seconds). Tonight, got that down to 1.3, so happy about that. Felt more comfortable in the fourth or fifth with guys on base with my times.”

Bundy was pitching last night on the one-year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery.

“Seems like it’s been forever, but then again it seemed like it flew by - the rehab and the throwing progressions,” he said. “Something you had to have. You tore a ligament, you have to get it fixed. Just like a car, break something and fix it and hope it works.

“I said I wanted to be back pitching competitively no matter where it was one year out. I’m about two or three weeks ahead of that, so that’s good.”

Orioles director of player development Brian Graham was at Ripken Stadium last night. He said Bundy is clearly ready to move up to a higher level, but, as of last night, where and when had not been decided.

Graham has seen Bundy make progress with Aberdeen.

“I saw two of his starts here. I feel like the fastball command has been very good,” Graham said. “The velocity has been good. It’s certainly not 96, 97 yet but it’s definitely been good. Tonight, the curveball was much better than his last outing. Changeup was good, a little bit firm but good. He looks like it’s free and easy. Doesn’t look like there is a lot of effort involved, so that’s a plus.”

As I wrote last night, it appears the Orioles are deciding between Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie for Bundy’s next stop. My sense is they are leaning toward Frederick for his next start.

While I was in Aberdeen last night, the Orioles were winning an important game, taking Game 2 of their day-night doubleheader 4-1 over Tampa Bay.

Some notes on the O’s:

* From May 21 to June 5, Chris Tillman made four starts and gave up 20 earned runs over 14 1/3 innings. Now, four starts later, he is pitching much better and seems to have turned around his season.

Over the past four starts, Tillman is 2-2 with an ERA of 1.61. This stretch has lowered his season ERA from 5.20 to 4.18.

* The Orioles bullpen pitched five scoreless innings in the doubleheader and is on a real roll right now. Over the last four games, the O’s ‘pen has not allowed an earned run in 14 2/3 innings. Over the past seven games, the bullpen has pitched 24 innings, allowing just 14 hits and one earned run with three walks and 16 strikeouts for an ERA of 0.38.

* Nick Hundley hit his first Orioles homer last night and it gave the club a 2-1 lead. Hundley has four hits over his last two starts and is 5-for-11 (.455) his last three starts with a double and homer. He went 5-for-34 (.147) with no extra-base hits before that to start his O’s career.

* Nelson Cruz is hitting homers again. He has hit four over his last nine games after going 14 games without a single home run.

* If the Orioles win either today or tomorrow, they will avoid losing an American League East series for the first time since April 11-13. The Orioles are 6-0-2 in their last eight AL East series and are 18-9 in division games (.667) since mid-April.

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