The Orioles made three roster moves after Monday's 16-4 Grapefruit League win over the Philadelphia Phillies, cutting their top three prospects from their spring training roster.
The club optioned top prospect Dylan Bundy to Double-A Bowie and reassigned right-hander Hunter Harvey, the organization's No. 2 prospect, to minor league camp.
The Orioles also optioned first baseman Christian Walker — the organization's No. 3 prospect — to Triple-A Norfolk. He was 1-for-12 in 10 spring training games.
Bundy — in big league camp for the first time since Tommy John elbow surgery in 2013 — allowed one run on two hits over 11/3 innings on Monday, walking two and striking out one in his fourth spring appearance. He allowed four runs over six spring innings, striking out three and walking six.
Harvey, 20, whose contract mandated he be in big league camp this year, allowed one run on one hit in the first three Grapefruit League innings of his career, recording four strikeouts and two walks. He allowed a run in one inning of relief on Monday.
"Both of those guys, they got everything out of this camp they can get and now it's time for them to get stretched out and take their work days and get ready to start," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "And they both know it. I was telling Dylan what a difference it is right now this year as opposed to last year. He's getting ready to go pitch in Bowie and that's exciting for him. He told me how nice [it is going to] feel not to be in Florida in three weeks."
Bundy has seen mixed results since returning from Tommy John surgery, going 1-3 with a 3.27 ERA in nine minor league starts — including a 4.78 ERA in six starts at High-A Frederick. But Showalter is confident Bundy will made significant progress this season, his second year since the surgery.
"He'll have some moments, I think, early on in the season where he will take a step forward and half a step back, but he'll hold himself to a high standard," Showalter said. "I think by June or July, you're going to see a pretty good product."
Bundy could help the big league team this season, and Harvey will be held to an innings limit to ensure he would be available to the Orioles late this season.
Harvey hasn't pitched above Low-A Delmarva, but he could move up in the team's minor league system quickly. He pitched just 87 2/3 innings last season and missed the last month with elbow discomfort. It shouldn't be a surprise if Harvey pitches just three innings per start early in the season.
"There's a part of it too where you want to have those guys experience a long season, but not have the taxation on their arm," Showalter said. "It's about getting ahead of it, being proactive instead of reactive. Don't wait until the innings are piled up and we have to shut him down. Just monitor the innings. ... when September or October come, they're going to have innings left."
The Orioles have limited innings for other top prospects in the recent past. Last season, Bundy posted just one start of more than five innings and Kevin Gausman was held to a five-inning, 75-pitch limit in the first two months of the season at Norfolk. Gausman eventually joined the Orioles starting rotation and was a weapon out of the bullpen in the postseason.
"Who we are, we can't afford these guys to get hurt," Showalter said. "We have to be 15 starting pitchers deep in our organization between Double-A, Triple-A and the major leagues, because that's where we're going when someone goes down. We can't go buy another one. … If you see someone get a three-inning start, it's not their fault. Its shame on us if we're not ahead of it, because we're not going to someone else's backyard. We're going to Bowie and Norfolk's backyard. Don't get hot in Frederick or we'll get your [butt] too."