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Orioles prospect Hunter Harvey to be handled carefully while starting at Double-A Bowie

BOWIE — Hunter Harvey, the Orioles' top pitching prospect, will be managed carefully as he makes his Double-A debut this season after missing nearly three full seasons with injuries.

After taking his candidacy to make the major league roster into the last week of spring training and getting a regular workload in minor league camp once he was sent out, Harvey will start Bowie's fifth game of the season and be limited to three innings for the foreseeable future.

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Despite the Orioles’ moves to address their starting pitching problems during spring training, the past few days served as a reminder that there are still many unanswered questions in terms of this team’s rotation. Those questions could dictate how the Orioles line up the rest of their pitching.

"Three innings a start, and we're going to go for that for a while, until we're told differently," Baysox manager Gary Kendall said.

Harvey, 23, built up past three innings last summer as he was on his way back from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, and while he didn't go past three innings in a major league spring training game, his first minor league start was four innings on March 22.

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"I hate that I've got to be managed, but I get where they're coming from," Harvey said. "After having three years of being hurt, you've got to get used to the cold weather again. It's a different monster. I understand where they're coming from, and whatever they think is best, I'll ride along with it."

The Orioles have taken this tact with players coming off injuries before, with Dylan Bundy's first full season after Tommy John surgery in 2015 beginning with short starts at Double-A Bowie.

Orioles players said that if the Twins cared so much about Chance Sisco bunting Sunday, they shouldn't have played a shift.

Harvey, who was essentially removed from consideration for the major league roster when the Orioles signed right-hander Alex Cobb, said the hope is this plan manages his pitch count for an eventual major league appearance.

"I haven't been told a whole lot — just that it's going to be kind of slow at the beginning, just taking it easy," said Harvey, the Orioles’ 2013 first-round draft pick. "We don't want to push it and get too sore too early, or burn out too early. It's my first time full-season in three years. I'm just trying to ease into it."

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This story will be updated.

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