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Bundy healthy, doesn't feel fatigued

Right-hander has 6.62 ERA over his past seven starts
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- Dylan Bundy says he feels healthy and Orioles manager Buck Showalter continues to provide full support of his rookie hurler. But beyond the encouraging words, Bundy's on-field performance lately leaves a cause for concern.

After allowing five runs over five innings in the Orioles' 5-2 loss to the Red Sox on Monday, Bundy has a 6.62 ERA over his past seven outings. For a guy who has been limited to just 63 1/3 innings the past three years due to injury, fatigue is a possibility. Despite eclipsing 100 innings on the season Monday, Bundy denied any physical limitations playing into his struggles.

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BALTIMORE -- Dylan Bundy says he feels healthy and Orioles manager Buck Showalter continues to provide full support of his rookie hurler. But beyond the encouraging words, Bundy's on-field performance lately leaves a cause for concern.

After allowing five runs over five innings in the Orioles' 5-2 loss to the Red Sox on Monday, Bundy has a 6.62 ERA over his past seven outings. For a guy who has been limited to just 63 1/3 innings the past three years due to injury, fatigue is a possibility. Despite eclipsing 100 innings on the season Monday, Bundy denied any physical limitations playing into his struggles.

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"My arm's feeling great," said Bundy, who threw a career-high 99 pitches. "Still doing my workouts, my sides in between starts. So there's no issue there."

Prior to Monday's start, Showalter acknowledged the unknown the Orioles are dealing with. Tommy John surgery in 2013 and a right shoulder injury last year have marred the career of the 2011 fourth overall selection and made it tough for the O's to determine a suitable workload in his first full season since 2012.

"As long as we proceed down this path the way we are handling him, I'm hoping. ... I would love to think he's pitching [in] late October," Showalter said before the game, "but we'll see."

Bundy's finish to the year is instrumental to the Orioles' postseason aspirations given the staff's lack of consistency outside of Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman. Ubaldo Jimenez (5.94 ERA), Yovani Gallardo (5.77 ERA) and Wade Miley (7.55 ERA with Orioles) haven't offered much reliability behind the top two starters.

While the 23-year-old Bundy stifled opponents initially, taking consecutive no-hitters into the sixth inning at one point, he's scuffled lately. He posted a 2.76 ERA in his first six starts compared to the 6.62 ERA in the seven starts since.

Asked about Bundy's recent struggles, Showalter said Monday's start was more about the Red Sox's offense than Bundy.

"Dylan's doing well," Showalter said. "I'm real proud of him. He's going to be a good Major League pitcher. Stays healthy, like you say about any young pitcher, it's going to be a lot of fun to watch him pitch in the future."

The Orioles proceeded with caution to open the year, using Bundy out of the bullpen exclusively. He logged just 38 innings in the first half of the season.

The O's inserted Bundy into the rotation after the All-Star break, and he's up to 104 2/3 innings on the year. As the Orioles try to hold onto a playoff spot in the final two weeks of the season, Bundy's just two-thirds of an inning shy of matching his professional career high set in 2012.

Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.

Baltimore Orioles, Dylan Bundy