Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles

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.

Jake Arrieta almost quit baseball

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 29: Jake Arrieta #49 of the Chicago Cubs scratches his beard as he walks back to the dugout at the end of sixth inning after giving up a three run home run to Gregory Polanco #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates (not pictured) at Wrigley Field on August 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta, the defending National League Cy Young Award winner and author of two no-hitters, considered quitting baseball a few years ago when he was bounced up and down between the major leagues and the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia.

At the time, Arrieta was having trouble living up to his potential as one of the Orioles’ top pitching prospects. He started on Opening Day in 2012, but finished the season with a 6.20 ERA and was very quickly moved back to Norfolk after four mediocre starts to begin the 2013 season.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Arrieta was considering quitting baseball so that his family could have a regular life.

We were at a point where I had other things that I could segue into and establish a career elsewhere. Not that I wanted that to happen, but I didn’t want to continue to go through the things we were going through and moving from place to place in the minor leagues at 25, 26 years old.

Baseball is something that I’ve loved to do since I was a little kid, but it’s not everything. I had to reevaluate some things. I knew I could always pitch this way, but there were times where it seemed like maybe I wasn’t going to get to that point.

It’s just part of life that we had to deal with.

Mooney also points out that Arrieta had a business background having gone to Texas Christian University and would have done something in that field if he had hung up the spikes.

This has been brought up because Arrieta’s teammate Tommy La Stella considered quitting baseball as well recently, as the Cubs demoted him to Triple-A. Though La Stella received a lot of criticism, Arrieta can relate to La Stella. The right-hander said, “I know that there were things that he was going through and dealing with (that) we may not agree with and understand.”

The National Anthem: an unwavering sports tradition . . . since the 1940s

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Associated Press
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There’s an interesting article over that the New York Times in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick stuff. This one is about the history of the National Anthem at sporting events.

The anthem is a fixture for as long as those of us reading this blog have been attending games and it’d be weird if it wasn’t there. But it hasn’t always been there, the Times notes. Indeed, it was not a regular fixture until 1942 when it was added for the obvious reason that we were at war. The other major sports leagues all adopted the anthem soon after. The NBA at the inception of the league in 1946 and the NHL in the same year. The NFL’s spokesman doesn’t mention a year, but notes that it’s a non-negotiable part of the game experience. The non-negotiability of it is underscored by the comment from the MLS spokesman who notes that they felt that they had no choice but to play the anthem when that league began play in the 1990s.

I like the anthem at ballgames. It just seems like part of the experience. I like it for its own sake, at least if the performance isn’t too over the top, and I like it because it serves as a nice demarcation between all of the pregame b.s. and the actual game starting.

But this article reminds us that there is no immutable structural reason for the anthem at games. Other countries don’t play their own anthems at their sporting events. We don’t play it before movies or plays or other non-sports performances. It’s a thing that we do which, however much of a tradition it has become, is somewhat odd when you think about it for a moment. And which has to seem pretty rote to the actual ballplayers who hear it maybe 180 times a year.