BALTIMORE -- Pleased with the progress made after a cortisone shot to his ailing right knee, Dylan Bundy stood in the Orioles' clubhouse Friday afternoon, a smile on his face and a bat in his hand. The right-hander said his knee responded well to a bullpen session on Wednesday, and that he plans to test it again in a similar setting on Saturday.
Should that go well, Bundy’s return from the injured list would be imminent, perhaps as early as Tuesday, for the second of the Orioles’ three upcoming games in Arizona. It would be the first day that Bundy, who has been on the IL with right knee tendinitis since Saturday, is eligible to return.
Those plans are not yet set in stone, but Bundy was confident enough to participate in bunting and baserunning drills with an eye toward being activated for the Interleague games.
“I was trying to push the limit in the last bullpen, and I didn’t feel anything,” Bundy said. “Tomorrow I expect more of the same.”
Consider it good news for Bundy, who has experienced discomfort in his right knee since the spring, but only disclosed it after his last outing. That performance stands as one of the worst of his career; a one-inning, seven-run performance that ballooned his season ERA -- which had hovered in the mid-4.00s for weeks -- back to 5.28.
Bundy was placed on the IL the next day, subsequently received a cortisone injection and says he’s been pain-free since.
“I felt great the next day after that shot,” Bundy said. “Hopefully that did the trick and I don’t have to deal with it the rest of the season,” Bundy said.
Even if only slightly, the ailment undoubtedly figures to affect Bundy’s trade value heading into this year’s July 31 Trade Deadline. Still just 26 and under club control through 2021, Bundy profiled as one of Baltimore’s more valuable assets as recently as last month, when he pitched to a 3.09 ERA over a strong eight-start stretch from May 4 to June 15.
But at this point, he likely finds himself on the lower end of a starting pitcher market that currently includes the likes of Madison Bumgarner, Matthew Boyd, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman and others.
All told, Bundy is 4-11 with a 5.28 ERA across 18 starts in 2019. Bundy is pitching to almost identical peripherals as he did last season, when he led the Majors in losses and home runs allowed.
With a roster spot open and catcher Pedro Severino under the weather, the Orioles recalled backstop Austin Wynns from Triple-A Norfolk on Friday as an insurance play. The move figures to be temporary as Severino, who has suffered from flu-like symptoms for the past several days, isn’t expected to require an injured list stint.
Once Severino recovers, the Orioles plan to go back to carrying two catchers and add left-hander Tanner Scott to their bullpen mix. But for now, Wynns technically replaced Tayler Scott -- not to be confused with Tanner Scott -- on the roster after the right-hander was optioned to Norfolk on Wednesday night.
Back with the team after the successful birth of his second child, Hanser Alberto returned to the No. 2 hole in Baltimore’s lineup Friday following a one-game absence. Alberto had upwards of 10 family members from his home in the Dominican Republic on hand when his wife Olga delivered a healthy girl, Hanna, at a local hospital Wednesday night.
“I have to work a little harder now that I have two,” Alberto said. “Momma, she’s the superhero. I have to get a couple hits for her.”
A career journeyman who was designated for assignment four times this winter, Alberto has been a revelation for the rebuilding Orioles this summer in an everyday role. He entered play Friday hitting .306 -- seventh best among AL hitters -- and an MLB-best .397 against left-handed pitching.
“All the hard work is coming together now, and I’m getting good results,” Alberto said. “Not even when I made the team did I think I’d still be here at this time. I didn’t take for granted any opportunity, and I did my job. I think that helped me to stay here for a long time.”