Orioles top prospect Dylan Bundy, who is pitching at Double-A Bowie as he continues to rebuild arm strength after Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in June 2013, is still being viewed as potential help for the big league club this season.
And, manager Buck Showalter said Wednesday, it's possible Bundy could jump right from the Baysox to the Orioles without stopping at Triple-A Norfolk if he is pitching well.
"That's a good question. We talked about that. No, not mandatory [to pitch in Triple-A]," Showalter said. "We've taken a number of people from Double-A [in the past]. … First of all, he's got to do well enough there."
Bundy, 22, made the leap from Double-A to the Orioles in 2012, pitching two games in September that year. But his elbow-ligament injury forced him out for all of 2013, and he pitched in just nine minor leagues games last season.
This year, he is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA in seven starts with the Baysox. He has allowed 19 hits and five walks while striking out 20 batters in 18 innings. The Orioles have been monitoring his workload — he hasn't thrown more than three innings in any outing so far this year.
"It's a process for him, little by little. I think June, middle of June, we'll get an idea of what we've got," Showalter said. "I know he's going to get up to five [innings], I think, at some point. They've got a target going by [doing] a lot of homework and history with Tommy John and the whole nine yards. I hope that we're talking about whether we want to call him up in September."
Bundy, whose fastball is up to the mid 90s, will have to be with the club in 2016, when he no longer will have minor league options. So it makes sense that he would at least get a taste of the majors this year. But if the Orioles are in a pennant race at the end of the season, it might have to be in a bullpen role.
"I don't think that's important at this point. I wouldn't want to get the cart in front of the horse at this point," Showalter said about grooming Bundy for a specific role later this year. "I'm hoping in September we bring people up here that can try and get us in the playoffs."
Wilson and Wright stick around
There was a scenario where rookie right-hander Tyler Wilson might force fellow rookie right-hander Mike Wright back to the minors this week. But with Bud Norris (bronchitis) going on the disabled list, both got to stay and be teammates at a new level together.
"I hate it for Bud," Wright said. "But I love it for Tyler Wilson and I love it for myself to stay up here and get some experience."
Wright threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings Sunday in his debut, but there was a possibility he'd have to go back to Norfolk so the Orioles could replenish their bullpen. But with the Norris injury, Wright gets to start again Saturday.
"It was awesome to get that news," he said.
Wilson was lingering on the taxi squad Monday before being told he would officially be recalled and be in the bullpen this week. He's not sure how long he'll stay around, but the experience has been worth it.
"Whether you're waiting or here officially, it's still a chance to be around all the guys again and be involved in the clubhouse," Wilson said. "It's exhilarating [to get called up]. That's something everybody waits so long to hear, to actually get that legit phone call, and I was very excited and very grateful for the opportunity to be here."
Showalter had Wilson warm up Tuesday in the bullpen, but chose to use Darren O'Day instead. He said he hopes the University of Virginia product can make his debut this week, but the games will dictate that.
Buck's time with Letterman
When he was a manager with the New York Yankees in the 1990s, Showalter had some encounters with "Late Show" host David Letterman, whose last installment is Wednesday night.
Once, Letterman had Showalter call in from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the host began asking odd baseball questions, like what does the team work on in the back fields during spring training?
"I went, 'We're kind of working on fundamentals,' and I herd the audience laugh and I heard, 'Ding, ding, ding,'" Showalter said. "So I'm putting two and two together that he's trying to see how many baseball cliches he can get me to say in like two minutes."
Showalter said Letterman then asked if Showalter prepares for several games at once, and the manager responded, "David, I guess you want me to say, 'I take them one game at a time.' And I heard, 'Ding, ding, ding,' again and he cut off the interview, right there."
Showalter said he quickly learned you don't upstage Letterman.
In 1992, Showalter and his Yankees hitting coach Frank Howard, appeared in a skit that taught Letterman and a female staff member subtle intricacies of baseball, such as spitting, chattering from the dugout and getting hit by pitches. Showalter said he remembers Letterman hit left-handed, didn't look good in a uniform and was shorter than he had anticipated. That video is still available on YouTube.
"I'd like to see it. I look the same?" Showalter said. "This is his last show tonight? I wonder who he is having on as guests. I know who it won't be."
Around the horn
Catcher Matt Wieters is experiencing hamstring tightness but is still slated to catch in an extended spring game in Florida on Thursday. He'll meet with the team Friday in Miami and is scheduled to go on a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday for Double-A Bowie. … Bowie right-hander Branden Kline, (Thomas Johnson High, Frederick) left his start with two outs in the second inning Wednesday because of right elbow discomfort. Kline, a second-round draft pick in 2012, had allowed three earned runs or fewer in six of his previous seven starts. … Delmarva right-hander Derrick Bleeker, a 37th-round pick in 2012, also left his outing Wednesday with right elbow discomfort. … Wright will make his second big league start Saturday against the Miami Marlins, meaning he will get the chance to hit. He hasn't done that in six years, since the fall of his freshman year at East Carolina University.