GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Trevor Bauer had a career year in 2018, posting a 2.21 ERA and recording 221 strikeouts in 175 innings. With a line drive striking his right leg being the biggest factor that stood between him and serious run at the American League Cy Young Award, it’s hard to imagine him finding more success in 2019. But not to Bauer.
The right-hander's goal throughout the spring is to perfect his changeup, a pitch he focused on all offseason. In Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Oakland at Hohokam Stadium, Bauer looked sharp yet again, tossing four innings of one-run ball, allowing just two hits.
“Again, he went fastball, changeup. But went four innings just because he was so efficient,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He looks really good. … His change, he’s really trying to hone in on it. And he’s doing a terrific job.”
Some would suggest following the saying of, ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,' after Bauer's 2018. And Francona even hinted at that Saturday morning when he said that he was happy that Bauer said that he wants to continue with what he does well.
“Then he says he wants to add the changeup, which I think is great, but you don’t want to rob Peter to pay Paul,” Francona said. “I think that was one of the things that I was really happy about was that he knows what his strengths are and he needs to continue that and he wants to add to it.”
Bauer hasn't forgotten what has led to his success, but he’s also not one to settle. In his first two Cactus League appearances, he has been pleased with how his changeup has looked and the results it has gotten. He's most pleased about how it keeps opposing hitters off balance.
“Next year it’ll be like, ‘Well, he’s good at changeup, curveball, slider, cutter,’ all that stuff,” Bauer said. “So I don’t view it as running away from what I’m good at. I view it as running to what I’m good at and still doing what I was good at, and it’s going to make it a lot more difficult for hitters to solve that problem.”
Bauer’s plan is for one or two more Cactus League outings throwing solely fastballs and changeups. He said he will then add a third pitch before working in everything in his arsenal. Bauer’s changeup could be the much-needed boost for the Indians, who will be relying even more on their starting rotation after an offseason of great turnover.
“When you add a new pitch, people are unsure what it’s gonna be like,” Bauer said. “And so you don’t want to run away from what you do well, but I assume the changeup is going to be one of my strengths this year.”
Hanley to debut Monday
Francona said on Saturday that Hanley Ramirez is expected to make his spring debut on Monday against the Padres. Ramirez last played in a Major League game on May 24, 2018, before being released by the Red Sox.
Francisco Lindor: Lindor hit in the batting cage for the first time on Friday and ran on the AlterG treadmill. Francona said that everything went well. The shortstop had a down day from activity on Saturday.
Jason Kipnis: Kipnis has been dealing with tightness in his left hip flexor, but the second baseman is scheduled to get back into the Indians’ lineup on Monday. Francona said that Kipnis was set to do sprints on Saturday and run the bases on Sunday.
Bobby Bradley: Bradley landed awkwardly on his shoulder in the Tribe’s first Cactus League game of the year last Saturday and has been sidelined since. Francona said that he will be available in Sunday’s game against the Royals.
The Indians will host the Royals at 3:05 p.m. ET at Goodyear Ballpark on Sunday. Cleveland left-hander Sam Hentges will start against Kansas City righty Chris Ellis. Nick Goody is scheduled to make his first appearance since May due to elbow issues.