"My goal is to come into spring training and work and prove everybody that I belong there in the starting rotation," said pitcher Dylan Bundy when asked about helping this year's Oriole team.
Late last season, Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy had enough major league experience under his belt to know that his most valuable weapon as a prospect might be helpful to have at the game's highest level, too.
Bundy came up throwing a cut fastball, but in his first fully healthy season since 2012, he decided not to throw it. It was that, he posited in the fall of 2015 at the Arizona Fall League, that was causing soreness in his right arm, and he decided he'd rather get through a season without physical problems before deciding the pitch's fate in his arsenal.
At FanFest on Saturday, Bundy said he'd been throwing it without soreness so far as he builds up his arm for his first full season as a major league starter.
"I've been throwing it for about two weeks now, and so far, it feels great," Bundy said. "I'm not throwing at the full speed or anything right now, but it's feeling good. I'll bring it into spring, but I'm going to try to limit it in games, and not throw it every single 0-2 pitch."
The pitch could be crucial to Bundy fulfilling his goal of pitching deeper into games and having enough offerings to get through a lineup a third or fourth time. As a starter, Bundy allowed a .637 opponent OPS in the first time through the batting order, but that climbed to .787 and .960 in the second and third trips through.
Bundy said it's not imperative that he has a fourth pitch to add to his mix and give batters another thing to think about, though it certainly can't hurt.
"I think I can do it, but it's command, it's sequencing, it's pitch location and having consistency every single start with three pitches," Bundy said. "The fourth one will help, but I don't think I need it."
That need for improvement, however successful his debut season was, is something he took from a 2016 that Bundy relishes.
"It was great, mainly just all the stuff I got to learn, the whole season, ups and downs of it — the hard times and also the good times," he said. "You can learn from the good times just as much as the bad. But it was fun. We didn't get where we wanted to go. We want to win the last game of the year, that's our goal. And as starting pitchers, we've got to do a better job. And I'm looking forward to trying to do a better job."