The Orioles were hoping against hope Dylan Bundy's elbow soreness was the result of some forearm inflammation instead of a damaged elbow ligament, but as his attempt at rehabilitation wore on, it was hard to dispute the growing likelihood that more drastic treatment might be necessary.
When it comes to the hardest-throwing prospects, the likelihood of a Tommy John procedure at some point is very high. The good news for Bundy is (a) now there is some certainty to the situation; and (b) he's only 20 years old. There's a pretty good chance this wipes out his 2014 season, but he'll still be just 22 when he arrives at spring training in 2015.
There are no guarantees that he returns the same pitcher that he earned the distinction of being the top pitching prospect in baseball, but the long-term prognosis for pitchers who undergo the Tommy John reconstruction surgery is very good. Some pitchers come back throwing even harder than before they were injured, though that might be the result of the intense rehab program rather than the durability of the transplanted tendon.
It's hard to imagine Bundy throwing much harder than he did when he arrived in the organization, but look for him to come back with more elbow-friendly mechanics and plenty of time to build a full career in the major leagues.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun