Dylan Bundy making progress after Tommy John surgery

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Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy has begun to throw from 45 feet as he continues to make strides on his way back from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander, who was the #2 overall prospect as ranked by Baseball America entering the 2013 season, went under the knife in late June and isn’t expected to be ready to return until June 2014 at the earliest.

During the 2012 season, his first year in professional baseball, the 19-year-old Bundy posted a 2.08 ERA in 103.2 innings between Single-A Delmarva and Frederick as well as Double-A Bowie. He got a cup of coffee in the Majors at the end of September, holding the opposition scoreless on a walk and a hit in 1.2 innings of work.

Over at MiLB.com, Kelsie Heneghan asked Bundy some questions about his rehab, giving some insight as to how the process has gone so far.

MiLB.com: You talked a little bit about this, but what have you been doing exactly in your rehab and what are the next steps?

Bundy: Shoulder stretches, shoulder [cuff] exercises three times a week and then I’ll do a couple elbows [exercises], usually once a week, but now I’m going to start throwing three times a week. The next step would be basically just advancing my throwing program. [For cuff exercises,] basically you’re working all the rotator cuff muscles: the small muscle groups in the shoulder, the decelerator muscles that help you slow down your arm after you’re finished throwing.

The Orioles could use the rotation help, especially depth-wise, if Bundy is able to return before the second half of the season. As of this writing, their rotation appears to include Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Bud Norris, and Kevin Gausman.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.