Dylan Bundy Elbow Pain: How Does This Affect Orioles Future Rotation Plans?

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Dylan Bundy Elbow Pain: How Does This Affect Orioles Future Rotation Plans?
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Dr. James Andrews is one name fans never want to hear. And unfortunately for the Baltimore Orioles and their fans, top prospect Dylan Bundy met with the world-renowned surgeon on Tuesday to get a second opinion on soreness in his forearm and elbow.

A tweet from Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun broke the story:

Bundy had an MRI performed roughly three weeks ago that revealed no structural damage. Still, the 20-year-old has yet to pitch since being reassigned to Double-A Bowie after an impressive spring training with the O's in Sarasota.

It seemed the Orioles were being just cautious and didn't want to rush things with their top prospect. However, the setback on Monday is a cause for concern.

A second MRI likely took place on Tuesday, however the results are still unknown. Regardless, it doesn't seem that Bundy will be in an Orioles uniform anytime in the near future.

Many thought that there was a chance that the Baseball America's No. 2 overall prospect could be in the Orioles' rotation by the All-Star break, if not earlier. But as of right now, seeing Bundy with the Orioles' at any point this season would be a sight for sore eyes.

If the follow up MRI reveals the unthinkable and 2011's No. 4 overall pick needs Tommy John surgery, all eyes would be on 2012's No. 4 overall pick, Kevin Gausman.

Rob Carr/Getty Images
Kevin Gausman

Currently, Gausman is going through some growing pains in Double-A Bowie. However, a good spring with the O's, along with a couple a solid starts so far in Bowie, continues to give hope to the Orioles and their fans.

A Bundy injury would also open up the door for other young prospects, including Zach Clark and Mike Wright. But Clark and Wright would have to improve on their current form, as both currently are carrying ERAs over 6.00.

Lesser known prospects, like Eddie Gamboa and Jake Pettit, both of whom are in Double-A, have a much better chance of seeing time in the majors later this season, especially if they continue to improve.

If the Orioles need a long-term starter anytime soon, they would likely rely on Zach Britton, or one of two veterans, Freddy Garcia and Jair Jurrjens. However, if GM Dan Duquette gets desperate, he could trade for a veteran, as they did in 2012 with Joe Saunders, using Jake Arrieta and the aforementioned Britton as trade bait.

But before everyone starts panicking, let's wait to see the results of the second MRI.

Orioles' Manger Buck Showalter is exuding calmness on the situation. Whether it be legitimate or a ploy to try and keep everyone else calm is unknown. But, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN, on Tuesday Showalter told reports the following:

He wanted to get a second opinion just to be sure because he hoped it would resolve quicker than this. He threw at 90 feet yesterday and felt it somewhat, from what I understand. I don't have all the information. I'm just going by what the report says, clinically speaking, the way they talk. But I haven't heard anything that would make me think anything differently. When Dr. Andrews weighs back in, I'll tell you that, just like I get the report and I tell you all. I'm not going to hide something or disguise it because sooner or later that stuff comes out.

The way it's described to me is flexor mass. They took an MRI and the elbow looked good. That was why maybe I don't, at this point, feel anything differently yet. I haven't had anything told to me that anything's different.

Hopefully, it's nothing major and Bundy will be back pitching pain-free in no time.

If worse comes to worst, the 20-year-old phenom will be shutdown for a year recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Either way, it's not the end of the world. Many of pitchers have recovered nicely from Tommy John surgery, including Stephen Strasburg.

Still, if major surgery of any kind can be avoided, it would be a cause for celebration.

*update* - Dylan Bundy has yet to meet with Dr. Andrews. His appointment is for Monday according to Roch Kubatko of MASN.

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