|ESPN.com: Bell||[Print without images]|
When a pitcher exhibits a decrease in fastball velocity, one of the first things that comes to mind as a possible cause is injury. While not all drops in velocity are a consequence of injury, it certainly raises a yellow flag that something may be on the horizon. In the case of Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy, after an outing in which his velocity was down in early March, the suspicion may have arisen. Interestingly, within a few weeks, Bundy was being shut down due to what was termed "stiffness" in his right (throwing) elbow, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Fortunately for Bundy and the Orioles, an MRI turned up nothing significant. He was placed on the minor league DL and shut down from throwing for several days. In the larger scheme of things, it appears that there is currently no serious injury to Bundy's elbow and the Orioles are taking precautions to help ensure one does not develop.
The team also underwent a complete biomechanical analysis of all their pitchers this spring -- as they did in 2012 -- with the assistance of the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI). Orioles director of pitching development Rick Peterson brought the process to the organization as part of his oversight of the health and development of his pitchers. According to MASNsports.com, Peterson described the analysis as, "an MRI of the pitching delivery to make sure that the measurements in that delivery are falling into normative range to optimize performance and reduce the risk of injury." While no one would suggest that all pitching injuries can be prevented, at the very least it indicates the Orioles are watching their young arms closely and that they have some baseline measures to use for comparison.
Expect Bundy to return to throwing gradually and under close monitoring, a process that could begin within days. It appears that this is just a minor setback on Bundy's path this season, but the Orioles clearly do not plan to rush him back.