The Orioles have been exceptionally cautious with top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy in his first professional year, keeping him in the South Atlantic League when he obviously was too advanced for the level and not allowing him to throw more than five innings now that he is with the Frederick Keys of the Carolina League.
At times, Orioles manager Buck Showalter has joked about promoting the 19-year-old Bundy, who is on the 40-man roster, to the big leagues. But on Sunday he was asked if the Orioles were in contention and they had a spot open and needed a boost, could Bundy pitch in the majors in 2012. And Showalter didn’t completely dismiss the possibility.
“If you do the mathematics of where we’re taking his innings compared to last year, it leaves that buffer if we so choose and if he is still worthy,” Showalter said. “We can go a lot of different directions with that. So the possibility is in place, but it’s something that I think we’re a long way from. One, we’ve got to [be in contention] and he’s going to have to do his part.”
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Bundy didn’t allow an earned run with Single-A Delmarva, but has been a little more human at High-A Frederick. He has pitched 28 2/3 innings for the Keys, posting a 3.14 ERA and allowing 24 hits, eight walks and 10 earned runs while striking out 30 batters.
“I think he’s at a level now … that he’s getting challenged to throw secondary pitches to shorten up his time to the plate, to do some things with base runners that he hasn’t had to do, and ride a little bit longer bus rides,” Showalter said. “So far, so good.”
Gonzalez’s odyssey ends in good outing
Miguel Gonzalez was supposed to start Saturday’s game for the Tides, but because of travel problems the team did not arrive in Norfolk from Columbus, Ohio until 6 p.m., an hour before game time. Once he arrived at the park, he was told he had been scratched from the start and needed to report to Baltimore.
By the fifth inning Sunday, Gonzalez was summoned into the Orioles’ game in relief of Brian Matusz — and he kept it from getting out of hand. He allowed just one run on four hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings while striking out five.
Most important, he saved the bullpen, keeping several relievers fresh for the upcoming road trip. That was much appreciated by Showalter.
“Hopefully, what Miguel did today will bode well for us the next few days,” the manager said.
Showalter did not rule out Gonzalez, who has a 2.31 ERA in two stints with the Orioles, as a potential starter for the Orioles in the near future. But executive vice president Dan Duquette said that is not in the current plans.
Avery sent down
To make room for Thome on the 25-man roster, the Orioles demoted outfielder Xavier Avery to Norfolk. He must be there for 10 days, barring injury to someone else on the roster, but could return shortly after the All-Star Break, Showalter said. Avery was 3-for-12 with one homer and one stolen base since being called up Thursday. The Orioles needed 13 pitchers because they will play seven straight games before the break.
Around the horn
Pitcher Steve Johnson (St. Paul’s) is being called up to the 25-man roster to take Brian Matusz’s place. He’ll join the team in Seattle. Johnson is the son of MASN broadcaster and former Oriole Dave Johnson. MASNSports.com first reported the news. ... To make room for Gonzalez, the Orioles demoted Tommy Hunter (3-4, 6.11 ERA) on Saturday night. … Zach Britton allowed three hits, two runs (one earned), walked four batters and struck out seven in six innings Sunday night with Triple-A Norfolk. Britton has a 4.96 ERA with the Tides. ... The Orioles have allowed 13 homers in their past six games. … Cleveland outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was 7-for-16 in the series with two homers and six RBIs. … Wilson Betemit extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a seventh-inning single. … Ashton Dean, a seven-year-old who had a stroke when he was six months old and is receiving treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital for vascular malformations in the brain, threw out Sunday’s first pitch. His appearance was sponsored by the non-profit Casey Cares Foundation.