09/23/12 6:24 PM ET
Bundy retires both batters faced in MLB debut
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
"Took me about a minute to find it," Bundy said with a grin after retiring both batters he faced in his professional debut at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon. "And [Hunter] told me to get going. So I was like, 'OK, it's happening,' and I got loose as quick as I could."
The Orioles' top prospect, Bundy joined the team in Seattle after Tuesday's marathon 18-inning game, sparking debate about when -- or even if -- he would actually get into a game, given that Baltimore is in a pennant race.
"I'd have liked to get him in, but the situation had to present itself, like it did today, where we don't want to jeopardize our bullpen, especially with the doubleheader [on Monday]," said manager Buck Showalter, who inserted Bundy with one out and a runner on second in the eighth inning with the Orioles trailing, 2-1, the eventual final score. "[It] was just the right spot today. I like him, and I think he's got a good future, but I'm not that nice a guy."
When Showalter handed the ball to Bundy, his message was simple.
"He said 'Get us out of the inning,'" said Bundy, who did just that, retiring both Ryan Lavarnway and Danny Valencia on a pair of fly balls, needing seven pitches to do it.
The Orioles' first-round pick in last year's Draft and considered one of baseball's best prospects, Bundy threw a fastball that topped out at 95 mph, and to Valencia he threw a pair of sliders -- which looked, perhaps, like his banned cutter pitch.
"It was a slider," Showalter said. "It's all terminology. He's going to need it to survive up here. Trust me."
Bundy said that the run in from the bullpen took a little longer than he anticipated, but after throwing his first pitch -- a 93-mph fastball for a ball -- he felt a lot better.
As for any jitters, he said, "Not really on the mound. My legs were kind of a little bit light. But then, when I got to the dugout, my hands were shaking. Other than that it was pretty good."
Bundy is the 16th-youngest player to debut for the Orioles, and he joins 20-year-old Manny Machado in giving the O's a pair of players 20 or younger debuting in the same season for the first time since Paul Blair and Franki Bertaina in 1964.
"As advertised, he had good stuff," said Lavarnway, who flied out to center field. "I had been wondering if we were going to see him."
Added Valencia: "[The slider] was pretty sharp. It was tough to see out there, obviously, with the shadows. Not to take away anything from him at all. He's got good stuff, and that's why he is here."
Bundy, who did not have his family here -- they left after Friday's game and will be in Baltimore on Monday -- said that facing the Red Sox during Spring Training didn't help calm any nerves, but getting his debut out of the way probably will.
"Getting the first two outs satisfies me a little bit," he said. "And hopefully, the next time I won't be as nervous."
The youngest player at big league camp, and one who always drew a crowd, Bundy went 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA in 103 2/3 innings as a starter in the Minors, pitching at three levels and ending at Double-A Bowie.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.