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PITTSBURGH – According to a recent Yahoo! Sports report, which cited an unnamed source, Oklahoma boy wonder Dylan Bundy advised the Pirates—among other teams—not to draft him because of their opposition to a long-toss program.
When I asked general manager Neal Huntington about this before the series finale against the Detroit Tigers today, he said that the claim was erroneous on two counts.
The organization scouted Bundy extensively in recent weeks. At 18, the high school pitcher may have the highest upside of any candidate in a draft that appears to be long on depth, but short on star power.
"We've not been told by any player in our four years here not to draft him," he said. "I do not know where the report came from. I guess that I question the accuracy of it, and I hate to do that."
What's more, Huntington said the organization is not opposed to a long-toss regimen if it adheres to its guidelines. He said several farmhands are involved in one at this time.
Bundy is a staunch supporter of the long-toss program as a primary way to build arm strength. He believes that his 100-miles-per-hour fastball is the direct result of it.
"(The report) also puts something out there that isn't true about our system," Huntington said.
"We are not opposed to long toss. We do not make a blanket statement about anything for anybody. We have a specific program in mind for our pitchers based on their individual strengths and talents above and beyond that.
"We're open to long toss if it's done correctly. It can be an asset. If done incorrectly, it can be a tremendous disadvantage for a player and put him in harm's way, and that's what we try to protect against. We want our pitchers to build arm strength but as importantly stay healthy."