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What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday action

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Dylan Bundy will start for the Orioles on Wednesday night, opposing David Price in a 7:05 PM EDT start at Camden Yards. Bundy is on a roll, putting up a 2.76 ERA with a 36/8 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings over six starts since moving from the bullpen into the starting rotation.

Bundy was the Orioles’ first-round — fourth overall — selection in the 2011 draft. He made his major league debut in 2012, but he didn’t have staying power as he suffered from elbow and shoulder troubles. The right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery in late June of 2013 and wouldn’t return until June 2014. In late July 2015, the Orioles shut Bundy down due to calcification in the back area of his shoulder.

Those injuries gave people pause when projecting him as a future ace, but so too did the Orioles’ history of developing pitchers. In April, O’s closer Zach Britton explained why top pitching prospects such as himself, Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman, and Brian Matusz failed to develop into aces in Baltimore’s system. The lefty said, “[The Orioles’ took away the individual approach to everything.” A lot of the blame seemed to lie with former pitching coach Rick Adair, who took a personal leave of absence in August 2013. The O’s shortly thereafter hired Dave Wallace and he’s been the pitching coach ever since, seemingly with much better results.

If he continues to pitch the way he has been, Bundy could become the ace the Orioles have been hoping to develop over the last decade.

The rest of Wednesday’s action…

Los Angeles Dodgers (Scott Kazmir) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Jake Thompson), 7:05 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox (Anthony Ranaudo) @ Cleveland Indians (Carlos Carrasco), 7:10 PM EDT

Kansas City Royals (Yordano Ventura) @ Detroit Tigers (Anibal Sanchez), 7:10 PM EDT

Miami Marlins (Andrew Cashner) @ Cincinnati Reds (Homer Bailey), 7:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Kyle Gibson) @ Atlanta Braves (Mike Foltynewicz), 7:10 PM EDT

Milwaukee Brewers (Jimmy Nelson) @ Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester), 8:05 PM EDT

Oakland Athletics (Sean Manaea) @ Texas Rangers (Yu Darvish), 8:05 PM EDT

New York Mets (Jonathon Niese) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Zack Godley), 9:40 PM EDT

Seattle Mariners (Cody Martin) @ Los Angeles Angels (Tyler Skaggs), 10:05 PM EDT

Bruce Maxwell first MLB player to kneel during National Anthem

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Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.