Bundy may be vital option in bullpen

Fourth overall pick in 2011 Draft healthy, set to contribute

Bundy may be vital option in bullpen

SARASOTA, Fla. -- When Dylan Bundy made his Major League debut in 2012, it wasn't just the future that was bright for the then-19-year-old: It was the present.

Fast forward four years and Bundy, the Orioles' first-round pick in the 2011 Draft, hasn't had the career anyone envisioned. The right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery in '13 and has been hampered by injuries the past two seasons that has limited him to a combined 17 Minor League games.

So when Bundy, who was shut down after two appearances in the Arizona Fall League in 2015, arrived at camp a full-go and steadily improved with each appearance, the O's started to get optimistic.

"It's one of those things that if you told me we'd be where we are with him right now, not that I'd be surprised, I'd be real happy with it," manager Buck Showalter said of Bundy, who is out of Minor League options and is projected to be part of the team's bullpen. "You can tell everything with him. I was kidding with him today down in the bullpen. I said: 'You're in a perfect ambush situation now.' He said: 'What do you mean?' I said: 'An umpire came up to me yesterday, to [pitching coach Dave Wallace] and said, 'This guy is really good. Who's this guy?' [I told him], 'You're back in the they don't know who you are [mode].'"

Not only could Bundy be a weapon out of the 'pen this season, but if that goes well, he could potentially be stretched out if he gets 30-40 innings under his belt and continues to pitch well. In the O's perfect scenario, he might be a late addition to the rotation, the kind of post-Trade Deadline acquisition that not many teams can make.

"Who knows, it could be something we look at at some point," Showalter said of Bundy being in the rotation in 2016. "It's right to hope that he could get back to that.

"You never know. I'm just throwing every possibility out there. You don't want to get ahead of yourself and forget where you come from. Sometimes you need to be happy where you are and with what you've got instead of trying to keep pushing it. I'm saying it's probably not going to happen, but I'm not going to say for sure."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.