Harvey grateful to get back on mound in spring

Orioles' top prospect sent to Minor League camp on Monday

Harvey grateful to get back on mound in spring

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Not much went right for Hunter Harvey during his relief appearance on Sunday, when five of six batters he faced reached base in the Orioles' 14-5 loss to the Twins. The right-hander battled wayward mechanics, as he allowed five earned runs on three hits and a pair of walks.

But Harvey, who was reassigned to Minor League camp on Monday, was on the mound in a game and feeling strong physically. That's the most important thing for the organization's top prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, who has not appeared in the regular season since July 25, 2014.

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"Just getting back in these Spring Training games and competing again, it's a good feeling after sitting around for a full season," Harvey said on Monday. "It's exciting. I'm ready to get the regular season going."

Although his time in big league camp is over for now, the future remains bright for the 21-year-old, as long as his health allows it.

Taken 22nd overall in the 2013 Draft out of Bandys High School in Catawba, N.C., Harvey posted a 3.18 ERA and 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings over 17 starts the following season, as a 19-year-old at Class-A Delmarva. Since then, he has dealt with arm issues, as well as a slight fracture of his right fibula he sustained last spring, when he was struck by a comebacker in a Minor League game. The Orioles shut him down with a flexor mass strain last September.

"Haven't had any pain since last year, when all that stuff happened," Harvey said. "Finally feeling good, so hopefully I can keep it that way."

After a scoreless Grapefruit League debut on March 3, Harvey scuffled in his last two appearances, particularly on Sunday. Afterward, manager Buck Showalter described Harvey as "out of sync."

"You can tell, his body language is different," Showalter said. "Early on, he was real good, and coming off some of the things he's had, I think it's time for him to take a deep breath and just kind of get a couple of good [side sessions] under his belt to feel good mechanically."

Harvey agreed about his mechanics, saying he couldn't find a good rhythm, but described the issue as "fixable." Despite the results, he was thankful to have the "awesome" experience of getting into a few big league games this spring, facing more advanced competition.

Harvey's manager was happy to have him and expressed no worries about his recent struggles.

"There's a lot of things you concern yourself with, [but] Hunter's going to be fine," Showalter said. "He's a good one, and we're lucky to have him."

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.