SARASOTA, Fla. — Top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy made his first competitive appearance in Saturday's intrasquad game, and it could be summed up in three words: Short and sweet.
"That guy is going to be as good as he wants," said Jones, who got a small but steady diet of fastballs from the 19-year-old right-hander. "The sky's the limit. It's just a matter of what he wants to do. He's got great stuff."
Jones and his teammates have swung against Bundy during live batting practice, but this was the first time with any adrenaline flowing, and he was composed and impressive.
"He's got to go face some hitters," Jones said. "There are going to be some guys who hit him, but I bet he just blows through the minors. But he's got to go down and face some hitters. He's 19."
Manager Buck Showalter has been trying to temper the hype on Bundy, but he enjoyed watching him along with everyone else.
"He was good," Showalter said. "I'm glad he got a chance to throw and we got a chance to see him. You can see why people think so highly of him."
Bundy will make at least a couple of appearances with the major league club before he is sent to minor league camp later this month. Showalter said he will pitch in a "B" game next Sunday and also make a brief appearance in a Grapefruit League game against the Boston Red Sox later in the spring.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy didn't get to face Bundy on Saturday, but he didn't have to stand in the batters box to know he was seeing something special.
"He just has an unbelievable arm," Hardy said.
Dylan's brother Bobby also pitched a scoreless inning in the intrasquad game.
The big bam
Hardy, coming off a terrific 2011 season, put a big swing on starting rotation candidate Armando Galarraga in the first inning of the second and final intrasquad game of the spring. He launched a no-doubt shot over the left field fence on the second pitch he saw.
"I don't even know if I've hit a homer in coaches' batting practice," he said, "so it was kind of a surprise. "
Hardy was asked if — coming off a 30-homer season — he was already locked at the plate this spring.
"Obviously, I'll take it," he said, "but I'm definitely not locked in. It's way too early to be locked in. I don't even want to be locked in yet."
Reynolds on Reynolds
Mark Reynolds has looked quick and agile at third base in the two intrasquad games, which has to make him feel good after a difficult defensive year in 2011.
He made two eye-catching plays in the first game on Friday, but said Saturday that he's just enjoying the competition.
"It was good to go play and put on your uniform, [to] face live pitching and be put in a game situation," he said. "It feels like baseball is finally back."
Reynolds was hesitant to draw any conclusions from such a short sample at this early stage of spring training, even though he made a big effort to slim down and improve his conditioning late last season and during the winter.
"I'm not going to look into it too much," he said. "My thinking doesn't change. It's two of many, I hope."
Nick Markakis said he is sticking with the original timetable for his entry into the exhibition lineup, even though he is making good progress in his rehab program. He has increased his activities steadily and obviously would like to speed things up, but said he is going to adhere to his program.
"I'm getting there, but I have to take it slow," he said. "It sucks, but it's better to be safe than sorry. I'm still going in that positive direction."
Taiwanese pitcher Wei-Yin Chen allowed a run on two hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly in the first inning Saturday. The inning was called to a halt after he faced five batters, but Showalter said he was fine with the performance.
"It was a tough day to pitch," he said. "He has good mound presence and he's deceptive with his delivery. He'll be fine."