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.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Zach Buchanan report that the Diamondbacks are one of several teams that have used labs other than the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah to process COVID-19 testing. MLB has encountered delays with its testing, despite promising 24-hour turnaround time, so teams have tried other avenues — with the league’s endorsement — in order to get faster results.
The SMRTL had processed performance-enhancing drug screenings for MLB. The league converted it to process COVID-19 tests amid concerns that having a season and all of the testing that would be required throughout would take away testing resources from the general public. That some teams are utilizing labs other than the SMRTL suggests the league, indeed, is usurping those resources.
In prospect Seth Beer’s case, he tested positive for COVID-19. He needed to test negative twice consecutively to be cleared to return to play. Beer went to a third-party site in the Phoenix area. He received his second negative test and was cleared to return on July 9.
The Diamondbacks said that the labs they have used have assured them that they are not taking away tests from the public. That seems like a claim MLB and the D-Backs should demonstrably prove. Per Rosenthal and Buchahan, the D-Backs have gone to an outside lab about 20 times, which accounts for less than one percent of COVID-19 tests taken by players and staff. Still, those are 20 tests that could have been used by the general public. And if the D-Backs and a handful of other teams already are using outside labs, then the rest of the league likely already is or soon will be doing the same. In the end, there will be a lot more than 20 tests taken at outside labs by MLB players and staff. Considering that “Tier 1” players will be tested every other day throughout the season, the total of third-party tests taken — if things continue the way they are now — could easily reach into the thousands by the end of October.
We all want baseball back, but the players, coaches, and all other staff are no more important than cashiers, teachers, and delivery drivers, so they shouldn’t have more access to COVID-19 testing simply by virtue of being associated with Major League Baseball and all of its influence and financial muscle. It would be unethical for MLB to be cutting in line ahead of other people who need testing just as much as if not more than the players.