Orioles' Bundy returns to hill after 4 years

Faces Twins after enduring TJ surgery, other setbacks

Orioles' Bundy returns to hill after 4 years

BALTIMORE -- Dylan Bundy had waited a long, long time for this.

Bundy, ranked by MLB.com as the Orioles' second-best prospect, warmed up several times during Wednesday's game and got up again on Thursday. So when rain halted the game for 21 minutes in the seventh inning, it was just another slight setback in the long, trying comeback for Bundy, who pitched a scoreless eighth in his first Major League outing since 2012.

The 23-year-old Bundy, who had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and has been hampered by injuries the past few years, stole the show in a much-anticipated comeback in the Orioles' 4-2 win to sweep the Twins.

"Even though it's been four years, it seems like just the other day I was doing it," Bundy said of pitching in the Majors. "But I was nervous. I think everybody saw that. I didn't really have my fastball command, but it was still fun to get back out there since it's been so long."

Out of options this spring, Bundy had an impressive Grapefruit League campaign and allowed one hit in his debut. Entering after starter Ubaldo Jimenez, Bundy came in with the O's leading, 3-2. After Bundy got Danny Santana to ground out, Joe Mauer hit a long fly ball that Nolan Remold caught at the left-field fence. Bundy surrendered a two-out center-field single to Miguel Sano, who was replaced by pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez. Catcher Caleb Joseph gunned down Nunez to end the frame.

"Somebody was telling me it's been 1,292 days since he was in the big leagues," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Bundy. "So I'm sure there was a lot of emotion floating around there."

Bundy, who developed a much better changeup during his layoff, has grown as a pitcher since he was last in the Orioles uniform.

"You could say a little smarter, I guess, even though I haven't pitched as many games as people would have hoped to," Bundy said. "But the mental side of it, being hurt three years, it's not easy getting through that. Staying in shape and keeping your body in shape and keeping your arm ready to go whenever it's healthy. Right now, it is."

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.