Dylan Bundy, Johan Santana continue rehab, hope to help Orioles down stretch

The Baltimore Sun

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy took the next step in his rehab from Tommy John surgery Wednesday, pitching from a flat mound for the first time.

Bundy previously has pitched from flat ground during his long-toss throwing progression, but the 21-year-old said getting back on the rubber was exciting.

“It was different even throwing on grass like I have been doing to [front office exec] Brady [Anderson]. That was still a little bit different, so it was fun," he said.

Bundy threw 15 pitches from the flat mound Wednesday, and he will increase that number as he throws from the flat mound two or three more times before moving to a half mound. He is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session from a full mound around March 31.

Left-hander Johan Santanathrew his third bullpen session off a flat mound in his return from his second shoulder surgery in three years. The Orioles hope both pitchers could contribute at some point this season. They could return by June.

“That's my goal, to get back up there as soon as I can,” Bundy said. “And when I'm ready to,  any way I can help, I'll be happy to do it."

Santana, a two-time Cy Young Award winner who signed a minor league deal that will pay him $3 million if he is added to the major league roster, will move to a half mound in his next throwing session.

"I felt good,” Santana said following his 25-pitch session Wednesday. “It's just making that adjustment going from that flat mound. But the good thing is, I feel good. The ball was coming out of my hand pretty good, and I'm throwing my changeup without any problems. Tried to throw a couple sliders there, but I'm not there yet, but overall I feel good."

Santana said he isn’t concentrating on throwing at a certain percentage. The main thing for him is how his arm recovers the days after he throws.

"I don't keep track on percentages or anything,” he said. “I think my situation is more about how I feel and how I recover from one bullpen to another. That's the key for me more than anything. The intensity will come as we go, but right now, I'm just doing my stuff here, but I'm not really concentrating on percentage or anything."

Santana said he still thinks about helping the Orioles, along with Bundy, within the next few months.

"No question,” he said. “I'm trying to get back into what I love to do. Dylan, he's got a great arm, and he's going to be a good one. Definitely, as long as you have an opportunity to improve your team as you go is definitely a good situation to be in. I'm pretty sure if we're healthy, and we're ready to help, that will be a good problem to have as a team, so we'll see how it goes."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said: “Your first hope is that you don’t need them, but you know that’s probably not going to be the case. ... We’re talking about the end of June. We don’t know what the separation and availability is going to be.”

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