Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy, once considered one of the top young players in all of baseball, pitched his first rehabilitation start with Single-A Aberdeen on Sunday. As the Baltimore Sun notes, it’s his first professional appearance since going down with injury in 2012.
Bundy, drafted by the Orioles with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2012 draft, was ranked as one of baseball’s top prospects before dealing with elbow soreness in his first pro season. After trying to rest up and rehab the injury, Bundy eventually underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2013 to repair the elbow.
Since then, Bundy — still just 21-years-old — had been pitching simulated games and working with coaches in extended spring training, so Sunday represented his official return to the mound.
Facing Hudson Valley, Bundy pitched well, allowing just one run over five innings in the game. He did give up hits in all but one frame, but struck out six and recorded zero walks, showing some ability to get out of jams when needed. When the opponents had runners in scoring position, Bundy was dominant, retiring all seven batters.
He only tossed 65 pitches before getting pulled after the fifth inning, though it appears the club planned that all along.
For the Orioles, who have patiently awaited Bundy’s return, the strong effort on Sunday undoubtedly comes as good news. While the lost development time will surely have some effect, we’ve seen in recent years how pitchers have rebounded from major elbow injuries. There’s still reason to believe Bundy can develop into a high-level starting pitcher, and Sunday was a good start.