Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer has a chance to take a hopeful leap forward in his development on Wednesday, as he will get a spot start during a double header against the San Diego Padres at Progressive Field. Bauer, who had his worst year as a pro in 2013, looks and feels better as he continues to try and work his way to a spot in the rotation at the Major League level.
“I think he’s better situated right now,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I think he’s more comfortable with himself, with us, and again, if he doesn’t pitch the game of his life that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be a good pitcher. I think we all hope he does.”
Bauer got an early start last season with the Indians in the first road trip of the season, and he struggled with command greatly, as he walked seven in just five innings in a 6-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. He did show signs of the prospect the team felt they were getting when they traded for him in December 2012 when he made a start May 1 against the Philadelphia Phillies at Progressive Field, allowing just one hit and no runs in his first win as an Indian.
Overall though, it was a tough year for Bauer, as with AAA Columbus, he went 6-7 with 4.15 ERA. While many Indians fans felt they would see Bauer at the Major League level for an extended amount of time during the season, that role went to rookie Danny Salazar, who is the team’s fourth starter entering the 2014 season. Bauer’s confidence has grown with a solid spring, and it seems he’s throwing better now than he did at any point last season. “I think with Trev it’s not the end result that brings the most confidence, it’s the process of how he gets there,” Francona said.
Much was made last year about Bauer when in March he stated that he was trying to “overwrite 10 years of neuromuscular programming,” as the Indians were working on his mechanics. This year, it looks like that work has paid off, and he looks a lot better; in Columbus, he allowed just one run on two his, striking out nine. Francona says there’s been changes that he’s seen, ones that will make Bauer a much better pitcher. “I think right now it’s his ability to want to pound the strike zone,” Francona said about the biggest change in Bauer. “He’s still a young kid, but I think he’s understanding more and more about working ahead and the benefits of that.”
It will be an interesting test for Bauer Wednesday, and one that if it goes well, could lead to more chances at the big league level for the young pitcher as the year goes along.