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Buck Showalter Says Dylan Bundy Shows Continued Growth

March 6, 2018
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter hasn't decided who will start Opening Day March 29. 

Showalter could choose Kevin Gausman, who started last year. He could also go with Chris Tillman, who started the previous three openers. Or, he could pick last year's win leader, Dylan Bundy.
 
In his first season as a fulltime starter, Bundy led the Orioles with 13 wins while going 13-9 with a 4.24 ERA. And even though his first two Grapefruit League starts this year have been rocky statistically, Showalter likes what he sees from the 25-year-old Bundy.

"He's got a good feel for his surroundings," Showalter said. "He's mature baseball-wise. He's very focused. He knows what it calls for. He's not a guy that I worry about getting ready and being prepared and being surprised by something. He's always a proactive guy. He likes preparing, and he likes [it] on game day, too."
 
In his first start this spring, Bundy allowed five runs on four hits with three walks in two innings at Philadelphia Feb. 24, and then on March 2, he gave up five runs on seven hits in 2.1 innings against Pittsburgh.
 
"I was leaving … all the pitches out over the plate today," Bundy said after his March 2 start. "Last outing, I was just missing off the plate. This outing, I was just missing too much over the plate and a little bit up. I've just got to keep working during spring."
 
For Bundy, the highlight of the 2017 season was a one-hit shutout during a 4-0 win against the Seattle Mariners in August. The right-hander struck out 12 and walked two. It was the Orioles' only complete game of the season. 

Since Bundy joined the Orioles' rotation, Showalter has been impressed with his realism.
  
"He said, 'OK, this is my job -- pitching every fifth day, do things that I can do, and accept things in the other spots and there's nothing I can do about it,'" Showalter said.
 
"Dylan did his part, and now he's trying to do his part as well if not better. Certainly, there's some personal pride as a pitching staff."
 
Bundy and Gausman entered spring training as the Orioles' only confirmed starters. The team quickly signed right-handers Andrew Cashner and Tillman. 
 
Showalter believes his four starters are hard workers, and Bundy will learn from his mistakes.
 
"I don't think he ever takes anything for granted," Showalter said. "He's trying to work on some things. I don't think he's ever going to get comfortable and think he's got it all figured out."
 
Showalter hasn't said when Bundy's next spring start will be, but he's trying to keep his top four starters away from American League East opponents and the Minnesota Twins, who the Orioles face in the first series of the season.
 
It's likely his next start will come during a simulated game, but that doesn't matter to Bundy, who was tough on himself after his second start.
 
"It's just the first two outings of spring, and I'm getting back in the swing of things, but I don't like giving up hits and hit batters and homers and stuff like that," Bundy said. "Just mainly getting the arm in shape to go five, six, seven innings is the goal here. Obviously, I need to work on my pitch execution and get those pitches refined a little bit."

Follow Rich on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB 

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox