In one way at least, Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy is just like any other player in the Class A Advanced Carolina League right now. He's just trying to perform well enough to earn his way out.
Baltimore's top prospect, still making his way back from Tommy John surgery in 2013, made a strong case for promotion Tuesday night. He rebounded from a rocky outing with six dominant frames for his first win since the surgery in Frederick's 4-0 shutout of Myrtle Beach.
"You want to succeed at this level before you go to the next level," Bundy said. "I had a good fastball-changeup combination. I was able to get hitters out early with the first or second pitch, getting ground balls or popups."
MLB.com's 16th-ranked prospect struck out one and walked two, slimming his ERA to 6.11 in four Carolina League outings. His last time out, he allowed six earned runs over four innings, struggling to find the right arm slot and drive his pitches down in the strike zone.
Bundy was able to correct that Tuesday by lifting his slot "by an inch or two" and working more at the knees. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native was encouraged by the start.
"It's just a matter of getting back on the mound," Bundy said. "You have to get out there and feel comfortable and believe in what you're doing. It's going to get comfortable, like I was in 2012."
Bundy allowed a leadoff single to top Rangers prospect Jorge Alfaro, but got a ground-ball double play from Edwin Garcia in the next at-bat. The righty faced the minimum in the first three innings.
In the fourth, Bundy gave up a leadoff walk to Alfaro and a single to Garcia, then got Nick Williams and Royce Bolinger to pop up and Preston Beck to line out to first.
No. 6 Rangers prospect Lewis Brinson led off the fifth with a single then stole second. After David Lyon popped up and Nick Vickerson walked, Bundy induced popups from Christopher Bostick and Alfaro to end the inning.
Bundy followed with a 1-2-3 sixth before giving way to righty Matt Hobgood.
Tuesday's start was Bundy's seventh since the surgery. The fourth pick in the 2011 Draft had an 0.60 ERA in three outings with short-season Aberdeen prior to joining Frederick, and Bundy anticipates making one or two more starts with Frederick before moving on, adding that a promotion would be tied to performance.
His goal for now is inducing more weak early contact -- something he did effectively with eight infield popups Tuesday.
"It's just like pitching anywhere," he said. "You have to keep the ball down in the zone and get hitters out early in the count."