Bundy's arm feels '100 percent' in return

Top Orioles prospect goes five innings in first start since TJ surgery

In his first start with Aberdeen, Dylan Bundy allowed one run while striking out six in five frames. (JLMayo Productions)

By Kelsie Heneghan / MiLB.com | June 15, 2014 10:40 PM ET

Time to celebrate on Camden Street, Dylan Bundy is back.

Just about one year ago, Baltimore's top prospect underwent Tommy John surgery. In his first start since 2012, the 21-year-old allowed one run on five hits while striking out six over five frames as short-season Aberdeen fell, 4-2, to Hudson Valley on Sunday.

"I was excited to get back on the mound, my arm felt great," Bundy said. "I'm happy with [the outing]. Gave up one run on five hits, could have located off-speed stuff better and they were able to get some hits, but I was really happy with command of my fastball."

MLB.com's No. 17 overall prospect allowed extra-base hits in three of his five innings. The only time Bundy couldn't completely work out of a jam was in the third, after he allowed a leadoff single to David Garcia and a ground-rule double by Douglas Duran. Bralin Jackson's groundout to short plated Garcia.

"He had a real good outing. He was using all of his pitches and made good pitches with his fastball," Aberdeen manager Matt Merullo said. "His fastball blew guys away and his curveball was sharper than I've ever seen. He had two big punchouts with guys on third."

In his first professional season in 2012, the right-hander advanced from Class A to Double-A in a matter of months. After going 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 23 starts across three levels, Bundy got the call from Baltimore. The 6-foot-1 hurler allowed one hit over two scoreless relief appearances for the Orioles to end the year on a high note.

But as he prepared to return for his sophomore campaign, 2011's second overall Draft pick faced tightness and a tear in his elbow, which eventually led to season-ending Tommy John surgery last June 27. Bundy spent last year working his way back in Sarasota, Florida.

"It's all about the rehab you do and how much you focus on exercises. If you did it right, you'll be back in a year," he said. "As far as arm-wise, I am back to 100 percent, but I just have to improve command of my off-speed pitches and up my velocity."

In his first start back, the Oklahoma native said his fastball velocity reached 91 to 93 mph -- a little bit lower than it was clocked at before the surgery.

"He was hitting his spots. He was doing all the work. I was just putting the fingers down and giving him a good target," Aberdeen catcher Jonah Heim said. "Catching a big leaguer is always fun. They know how to control the game and hit their spots."

Bundy (0-1) said he is currently limited to 75 pitches or five innings -- whichever comes first -- for "awhile." He knows he will be with Aberdeen for at least two or three starts before starting to ascend the Orioles' system ladder once again.

"You forget he's only 21. I was looking at a guy with a lot of presence on the mound and a very advanced guy in command of himself," the manager said. "The fact that he was outside the clubhouse after the game shows he cares about his teammates whether he's here for a few weeks or a couple months. He's a quality guy."

Hudson Valley starter Nolan Gannon (1-0) hurled five one-hit frames while striking out two in his first start of the season.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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