Dylan Bundy’s long road back leads to first win as a starter (plus trade talk)

I can remember a time when we wondered if Dylan Bundy would be treated like a Rule 5 draft pick this year. At one point in the spring, manager Buck Showalter wondered how things would go if Bundy was healthy but not getting major league hitters out.

On the day after the Orioles announced that one top pitching prospect in Hunter Harvey would undergo Tommy John surgery, Bundy showed yet again that he is finally fully recovered from his.

Dylan-Bundy-gray-sidebar.jpgBundy actually looked just about completely back from his Tommy John surgery last May at Double-A Bowie and then he developed a rare shoulder issue. But the kid who never got down through all of this just had another challenge to face.

Just to remind myself about Bundy throwing well last may for the Baysox, I found this story from last May 19. I wrote about Bundy after he had a tough outing at Bowie. The O’s brass was raving about how well he threw that night despite allowing six runs and how well he was doing, touching 96-97 mph. This was all before the shoulder injury that would end his 2015 season. Then a forearm issue from throwing a cutter put him on the shelf after just two innings in the Arizona Fall League in November. He has had a lot to overcome to get to where he is now.

To further grasp how well Bundy pitched last night, you have to understand this is a kid with a total of 38 2/3 minor league innings under his belt above the Single-A level. This is the kid who lived up to the prospect hype in 2012. This is the kid who has no ego, even when so many told him how great he was as an amateur.

I debated this many times with fans over the years, but I thought the Orioles handled Bundy very well in 2012 when they told him to shelve his cutter while working more on his changeup on the farm. That pitch was a key for Bundy in last night’s outing against a Cleveland team with the best record in the American League.

When you’ve heard Bundy answer questions about injuries and surgeries so many times over so many years, you can’t help but appreciate all the work he did, physically and mentally, to reach the point he has.

No one is putting him in the Hall of Fame just yet. But that was a very impressive outing Friday night and Bundy, still not throwing his cutter/slider, showed an impressive three-pitch mix against the Tribe. His future looks rather bright.

I never saw Bundy get down even once since June 2013 when he had Tommy John surgery. He could and should prove to be quite a friend and resource now for Harvey, who faces the long road Bundy faced more than three years ago. I’ve seen a few players over the years who worked so hard that you felt they truly deserved success. Add Bundy to that list.

You wonder how he could look when he actually has more than 48 major league innings under his belt.

Trade talk: A report surfaced through various national reporters last night that the Orioles were discussing a deal to send pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to San Diego for outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. The reports indicated the Orioles could also send a prospect west in the deal.

Both players are signed through 2017, with Jimenez slated to get a total of $26.5 million in 2016 and 2017 and Upton slated to get $31.9 million in the same span. The Orioles’ motivation would include the chance to move a pitcher with an ERA of 7.38 and add an outfielder at a time when they have two on the disabled list. They would be adding $5.4 million in salary and not adding a starting pitcher, but who knows. If they make this move, maybe it is just the first of one or more moves. It would also free up a spot on the pitching staff with Jimenez moving to the National League.

The 31-year-old Upton, a Norfolk, Va., native, is batting .260/.309/.448 with 16 homers and 44 RBIs. While he is slugging .402 with a .700 OPS this year versus right-handed pitchers, those numbers are much better at .583/.924 against left-handers.

Jimenez has become almost an afterthought at the moment and he would be gone from the O’s rotation for good. San Diego would take on his salary, it appears, to move a big salary and open an outfield spot for younger players. Both teams get something they want and need out of this deal.

Here is more on the proposed deal from MLBTradeRumors.com.

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