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Bauer feels he's close to coming off the DL

Indians righty throws about 60 pitches in simulated outing
September 18, 2018

CLEVELAND -- Trevor Bauer took a seat in the Indians' dugout, grabbed some water and took a break from his simulated throwing session on Tuesday afternoon. Slugger Jose Ramirez, sitting on an elevated bench by the railing, turned around and engaged in some friendly trash talk with his teammate."What're you

CLEVELAND -- Trevor Bauer took a seat in the Indians' dugout, grabbed some water and took a break from his simulated throwing session on Tuesday afternoon. Slugger Jose Ramirez, sitting on an elevated bench by the railing, turned around and engaged in some friendly trash talk with his teammate.
"What're you throwing, 82?" Ramirez quipped.
"Can you hit it?" the pitcher fired back with a smirk.
This was Bauer in his element. During his offseason workouts, verbal jabs are a part of the daily routine. It is a way for the right-hander to get his adrenaline pumping, which can be difficult to do in a non-game setting. In that way, Bauer got more out of his three-inning session on Tuesday than his previous mound test, and he feels he is getting closer to being ready for a return from the disabled list.
Bauer worked through roughly 60 pitches, taking breaks between each inning against hitters Eric Haase, Brandon Barnes and Adam Rosales. Bauer -- currently sidelined due to a stress fracture in his right fibula -- tested each of his offerings and said he was able to focus on the outing, rather than on his mechanics or the ankle.

Bauer felt so good that he joked with manager Terry Francona that he was ready to come off the DL immediately.
"I told Tito I'm available tonight," Bauer said with a laugh. "Based on the information I have right now, I would feel comfortable execution-wise being able to go into a big league game. So, we're close."
Francona put his foot on the brakes.
"I'm glad he feels that way," said Francona, who watched Bauer's workout, along with president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti, pitching coach Carl Willis and a group of other front office and medical staffers. "I thought he took a good step in the right direction. So, what we'll do now next is we'll sit with him and the medical staff and figure out where the next step is. That's where we're at.
"We know Trevor wants to pitch. From our standpoint, the quicker we can get him in a game, without risk, the better. But, that's where you've got to listen to the medical guys, too."
Francona was asked if the next step could be activation from the DL.
"It's a scenario," he replied. "I don't know if it's likely."
Between the simulated innings, Bauer received feedback on his pitches from Haase (who also offers the perspective of a catcher), discussed things with Willis and later chatted with catcher Roberto Perez. After his last mound workout on Saturday, Bauer said his delivery sequencing needed to be ironed out, something that was not as much of an issue this time around.
"All of it's valuable," Bauer said of the information gathered. "I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to use it all yet. I'm still fresh off the mound, so I have to cool down, get done with my work, and then process it, look at some video and whatnot. But, the biggest takeaway is that I was able to completely focus on competing."
Asked if Ramirez's chatter from the dugout helped at all, Bauer rolled his eyes.
"Jose talks a lot. There's no action behind it," Bauer joked. "He's always telling me he's going to hit a homer off me, and face me, and all that stuff. And then he gets a chance, and it's, 'Nah, I don't want to face you.'"
Worth noting
• Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, who sustained a mild right ankle sprain in the fourth inning on Saturday against the Tigers, was out of the starting lineup on Tuesday. Francona said it was just an opportunity to give Encarnacion three days' rest and recovery, given the Tribe had an off-day on Monday.
"He's fine," Francona said prior to Tuesday's game. "He could've played today. I told him to take [batting practice] and run, and we'll put him in there tomorrow."
• Since being activated from the DL on Sept. 11, third baseman Josh Donaldson has been playing on an every-other-day basis. Francona noted that Donaldson -- in Tuesday's lineup -- would also start on Wednesday, marking his first back-to-back starts since late May.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.