Bauer confident he'll be ready to pitch in WS

Righty believes pinkie will have had plenty of time to heal between appearances

October 21st, 2016

CLEVELAND -- is confident that he will be able to pitch in the World Series without any issues. Even after the bloody right pinkie problem in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, when his ugly wound was revealed to the world, the Indians starter says he is available whenever his team needs him.

"That would be a little better than the last series," Tribe manager Terry Francona quipped.

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During Friday's workout at Progressive Field, Bauer met with reporters and indicated that his stitched-up finger -- covered by a bandage as he spoke -- would have plenty of time to heal ahead of the Fall Classic, which begins on Tuesday in Cleveland. Bauer has already resumed throwing and continues to receive treatment on the finger from Dr. Thomas Graham, a renowned hand specialist.

Bauer injured his finger the night of Oct. 13 while repairing one of his personal drones. A propeller unexpectedly began turning and sliced the pinkie on the righty's pitching hand. Bauer received 10 stitches in the cut and then had his scheduled start moved from Saturday in Cleveland (Game 2 of the ALCS) to Monday in Toronto. Twenty-one pitches into his start at Rogers Centre, Bauer was forced to exit after the cut opened and began dripping blood.

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If the Indians name Bauer their starter for Game 3 of the World Series on Oct. 28, he will have had 10 days off between appearances. The pitcher said that should be plenty of time for his hand.

"It's healing, so we're in a good spot," Bauer said. "I'll be able to pitch, no problem."

Should Bauer take the ball in Game 3 or 4 of the World Series, he would be required to hit under National League rules. The pitcher cracked a smile when asked if that would be a problem, given the state of his finger.

"That's not going to be an issue," Bauer said. "I couldn't hit Little League pitching. I'm certainly not going to hit World Series pitching."

Francona noted that Bauer was scheduled to throw again on Friday before visiting with Graham.

"Dr. Graham is going to do a little more suture work on him just to tighten up that one area," Francona said. "He thinks it's healing really good. There's just that one area down at the bottom where the skin isn't quite as healthy as the rest of it. So he's going to suture it back up so it won't bleed.

"That's really the only issue. And he's very confident that this is not going to be an issue."

After Bauer's injury came up on Oct. 13, the Indians added lefty to the roster as insurance for the pitching staff. When Bauer could not get through the first inning, turning Game 3 into a bullpen day for the Tribe, ace started on short rest for Game 4 and Merritt was called upon as a starter for Game 5 against the Blue Jays.

Merritt worked 4 1/3 shutout innings, going deep enough to allow Cleveland's bullpen to lock down the pennant-clinching victory.

"He did great," Bauer said of Merritt. "I thought it was fantastic to watch. Just knowing Ryan and his demeanor and how he is as a person, and how he handles things like that, we were all confident in him going out there, that he'd be ready to go and compete and wouldn't be affected by the situation. Obviously, he pitched a heck of a game, so I couldn't be happier for him."

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Now, Bauer is preparing for the World Series, but he would not go into specifics about what he is doing behind the scenes.

"I'm going to go ahead and keep my program and my preparation to myself," Bauer said. "Just know that I'm doing everything I can, and I'll be ready to pitch."

When will Bauer be available?

"Game 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7," he said.