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.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.