Arizona and baseball are two familiar words for Trevor Bauer.
As a former pitcher in the Diamondbacks organization, the North Hollywood, CA native logged two years with the franchise that drafted him third overall out of UCLA in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
Just over a year later on Dec. 11, 2012, Arizona traded Bauer and Bryan Shaw to Cleveland in what turned out to be a valuable acquisition of assets to the pitching staff.
Since then, Bauer has bounced around with the Cleveland Indians before finding his niche as a member of a premier starting rotation in May of 2016. Coincidentally, the Tribe’s spring training facility is just 47 minutes away from Chase Field, the current home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Bauer toed the rubber for the first time in 2017 and tossed three shutout innings in a 7-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday afternoon from Goodyear Park in Goodyear, AZ.
Michael Martinez and Nellie Rodriguez each recorded multi-hit games but Leonys Martin’s three base knocks proved to be the difference-maker.
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Despite allowing at least one hit in each of the innings he pitched, Bauer worked well out of the stretch and left three runners stranded on base. Most importantly, his command issues from years past were non-existent.
“I don’t think he walked anybody,” said manager Terry Francona to reporters. “I thought the ball came out of his hand good. It’s his first outing. He went three and he got them.”
Bauer was not blowing hitters away as shown by his one strikeout, but he did make an adjustment on Robinson Cano by forcing him to roll over on a groundout to second base after allowing a single to the slugger earlier in the contest.
Rodriguez and Martinez
Once Edwin Encarnacion laced a line drive single up the middle off Edwin Diaz, it was time for Rodriguez to enter the game as a pinch runner. Although his marginal speed did not translate into any runs on the scoreboard, his approach at the plate turned the heads of the Tribe’s coaching staff.
Rodriguez, 22, slashed a leadoff double in the seventh and single in the eighth to finish a perfect 2-for-2 and raise his camp batting average to .800 (4-5). The former of the two hits resulted in a run that brought the deficit to 7-2.
Martinez provided some pop at the bottom of the lineup by smashing his sixth career spring training home run (138 games) in the bottom of the third frame off Evan Scribner. The versatile veteran now has just as many pre-season home runs as he does in the MLB regular season (6 HRs, 267 games).
A trip to Glendale, AZ is in store for Danny Salazar’s second spring appearance and a large chunk of the Indians’ roster on Friday at 3 PM ET from the Camelback Ranch.
Salazar will oppose Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers in what figures to be a pitching spectacle between two top of the rotation arms.
The 27-year-old fired two shutout frames this past Sunday against the Chicago Cubs while Kershaw cruised through a clean inning on Feb. 26 opposite the Chicago White Sox.
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.