Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy arrived at FanFest with a clean bill of health, optimistic that he has put three frustrating years of injuries behind him.
The 23-year-old has pitched in just 17 games over the past two seasons since missing 2013 with Tommy John elbow reconstruction. He pitched in just eight games last season before he was shut down with what was diagnosed as a calcification in his right shoulder.
Bundy was then shelved with elbow tightness after just pitching a pair of one-inning starts in the Arizona Fall League, but now he's ready to return. Bundy has begun working out and is scheduled to resume throwing next week.
"I don't think it was anything," Bundy said of his elbow. "It was just a precautionary thing where they shut me down. Maybe it was just starting to throw again. When you're starting to throw again, you're going to get sore in certain places. You've just got to get used to it. I just was kind of cautious about it and I told the trainers and they took care of it.
"Feel great," Bundy added. "Arm is healthy, so I'm really excited going into 2016 spring training. I'm just going to get in shape. I just started my workout and I'll start throwing here next week and get in shape the best way I can and go into spring training healthy and compete for a spot."
Since Bundy hadn't pitched since May, the organization wanted him to get some innings under his belt before spring training and sent him to the fall league, but his time there was abbreviated.
"I felt great in that first inning the first start in the AFL and then the second outing I felt it and was just like, 'Come on, give me a break.' You know?" Bundy said. "All I want to do is pitch and you can't really work or do a whole lot of stuff if you're not out there pitching. I'm just excited I'm healthy right now and I want to go into spring training healthy and compete for a spot and help the team win."
Bundy, who signed a major league deal after the team made him the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft, enters the season out of minor league options. So he must make the team out of spring training or must clear waivers before he can be sent to the minors. He will likely compete for a bullpen spot this spring.
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"I know all the options stuff and I'm supposed to make the team and all that, but I'm going to go into camp just like I have the past four years, trying to make the roster," he said. "And if I don't make it, hopefully I'll find a spot [elsewhere], but I want to make the team with the Orioles and make the team win."
Bundy said it has felt like a long time since made his big league debut in September 2012, but said his main obstacle heading into next season is staying healthy.
"It really feels longer," Bundy said. "… You can't really help injuries. The only thing you've got to do is stay confident and hopefully you'll be fine in the long run. … It's just like hunting for me, kind of. You've got to stay patient and just wait for the opportunity. But now the main thing is getting healthy."
Around the horn
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who was limited to 86 games because of a right knee injury last year, said he has been talking with his buddy Manny Machado about each of them playing 162 games in 2016. Machado was the only major leaguer to play 162 in 2015. "He says if he can do it, I can do it, too," Schoop said. "I've got a lot of work to do, but that's a good goal." … Machado was not at FanFest because he had committed to be with close family friends who were expecting a child this weekend. While answering questions from fans, Showalter joked that if Machado had attended FanFest the sides maybe could have talked about an extension. The manager then added, "Not happy about it," in reference to Machado's absence. … Closer Zach Britton also missed the event because of a snowstorm in Nevada. Other players who did not attend included newcomers Mark Trumbo and L.J. Hoes, as well as outfielder Dariel Alvarez and pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who was on his honeymoon. … Designated hitter Jimmy Paredes said he has been playing right field every day in winter ball and said it is going well. He said it is important to show the Orioles he can play a position well after struggling at third base and second base last year. … Showalter said during a fan forum that right fielder Alvarez's arm is so good that the club would consider transitioning him to the mound if things don't work out as a position player. But the plan for now is that he will continue to be a position player. … Duquette said the Orioles retain pitcher Pat Connaughton's rights and would want him back if the club's 2014 fourth-rounder leaves pro basketball. Connaughton is currently a little-used reserve with the Portland Trailblazers.
Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this article.