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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

Astros owner Crane expects to hire new manager by Feb. 3

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HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Astros owner Jim Crane expects to hire a new manager by Feb. 3.

The Astros need a new manager and general manager after AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were fired Monday, hours after both were suspended by Major League Baseball for a year for the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

Crane said Friday that he’s interviewed a number of candidates this week and has some more to talk to in the coming days.

Crane refused to answer directly when asked if former Astros player and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio was a possibility for the job. But he did say that he had spoken to Biggio, fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell and former Astros star Lance Berkman in the days since the firings.

“We’ve talked to all of our Killer B’s,” Crane said referring to the nickname the three shared while playing for the Astros. “They’ve contacted me and they’ve all expressed that they would like to help. Berkman, Bagwell, Biggio have all called and said: ‘hey, if there’s anything I can do, I’m here for you.’”

“So we’ll continue to visit with those guys and see if there’s something there.”

Crane says his list is still rather extensive and that he hopes to have it narrowed down by the end of next week. He added that he expects most of Hinch’s staff to stay in place regardless of who is hired.

Crane has enlisted the help of three or four employees to help him with the interview process, including some in Houston’s baseball operations department.

“We compare notes,” he said. “I’ve learned a long time ago that you learn a lot if four or five people talk to a key candidate and you get a lot more information. So that’s what we’re doing.”

Crane’ top priority is finding a manager with spring training less than a month away, but he said he would start focusing on the search for a general manager after he hires a manager. He expects to hire a GM before the end of spring training.

“We should have another good season with the team pretty much intact … so I don’t know why a manager wouldn’t want to come in and manage these guys,” he said. “They’re set to win again.”

The penalties announced by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday came after he found illicit use of electronics to steal signs in Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season. The Astros were also fined $5 million, which is the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, and must forfeit their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.

The investigation found that the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter’s odds of getting a hit.

With much still in flux, Crane was asked what qualities are most important to him in his next manager.

“Someone mature that can handle the group,” he said. “Someone that’s had a little bit of experience in some areas. We’ve just got to find a leader that can handle some pressure and there’s going to be a little bit of pressure from where this team has been in the last few months.”

Despite his comment about experience, Crane said having been a major league manager before is not mandatory to him.

“We made some mistakes,” he said. “We made a decision to let that get behind us. We think the future is bright. We’ll make the adjustments … people think we’re in crisis. I certainly don’t believe that.”