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Bundy enjoying first big league camp

SARASOTA, Fla. - Dylan Bundy is having a terrific time in his first major league camp. A year ago, Bundy was in high school in Oklahoma, and now he's facing major league hitters.

In his first major league camp with the Baltimore Orioles, Bundy has impressed manager Buck Showalter and what he hopes are his future teammates.

Last June, Bundy was selected fourth in the draft, and after protracted negotiations, signed a major league contract for $6.225 million bonus. He was placed on the 40-man roster, and guaranteed a trip to major league spring training.

It's been a great one.

On Saturday, Bundy pitched an inning of the second intrasquad game. He struck out Adam Jones, got Matt Wieters on a fly to right and caught Mark Reynolds looking.

"He can be as good as he wants," Jones said. "I only saw a few pitches. It was over quick."

Bundy will probably work against Boston in Fort Myers on Tuesday, and should pitch once more before reporting to minor league camp in about 10 days.

He'll probably be assigned to Delmarva.

"My prediction is that he'll just blow by the minors," Jones said. "He should."

Bundy doesn't care where he ends up. He's having fun in his first professional camp. The most fun he had was pitching on the same team with

his brother, Bobby in the same game. Bobby Bundy pitched a scoreless inning.

"That was real fun. We each pitched for the same team," Bundy said. "That was real fun. It's pretty neat we get to pitch in the same organization - the same team - the first of many, of course."

Showalter enjoyed watching the first game.

"I can see why people think highly of him," Showalter said. "That train's going to leave the station whether you try and hold it down or not. I'm not."

Bundy smiled when asked how long he thought he'd stay in big league camp.

"How long do I expect to, or how long do I want to?" Bundy asked.

"I want to be here the whole camp - experience the whole deal - going through every day with these guys. I don't think that's going to happen."

Showalter will pitch him twice here before he's sent down.

"Then, he pitches against Minnesota in the home opener," Showalter joked.

GETTING READY TO START: The Orioles begin their exhibition season on Monday in a unique way. They have a split-squad doubleheader.

The first game will be at 1:05 p.m. at Port Charlotte when Alfredo Simon faces the Tampa Bay Rays. He'll be followed by Brad Bergesen, Zach Phillips, Miguel Socolovich and Pedro Strop.

Brian Matusz will start the home opener at 7:05 p.m. against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kevin Gregg, Matt Lindstrom, Troy Patton, Darren O'Day and Oscar Villarreal.

The Orioles will play 30 games against major league opponents; there will be three split-squad games.

At the end of spring training, there'll be games against two local Florida colleges and a quick trip to Norfolk on April 4 to play their Class AAA affiliate.

MARKAKIS IMPROVES: Nick Markakis won't play in at least the first week of spring training games, Showalter has said.

That's fine with Markakis, who is still rehabbing from surgery on his abdomen on Jan. 5.

"I'm not going to push the issue on anything. I want to be there Opening Day, and I'm just going to take it slow," Markakis said.

"Even if it goes to the second week, I don't want to push the envelope at all. I want to make sure I'm ready for 162 games.

"I'm really not looking that much into spring training games because there are things I need to get down before the games come," Markakis said.

ODDS AND ENDS: Zach Britton and Jim Johnson both threw about 25 pitches in bullpen sessions, and Showalter was encouraged with both.

Britton said that he could be able to pitch in a game next week. ...

Tsuyoshi Wada threw from 120 feet, and Showalter said that he should be able to throw off a mound in a few days.

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