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Bauer praises Cole ahead of matchup

Righty pitchers had rocky relationship while teammates at UCLA
MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- It is no secret that Indians starter Trevor Bauer and Astros starter Gerrit Cole did not get along during their days as a prolific collegiate pitching duo for the UCLA Bruins. Much has been made over the years of that history, but Bauer took a step toward trying to move on prior to Thursday's game against Houston.

In a lengthy conversation with MLB.com and The Athletic, Bauer praised Cole for the season he has put together for the Astros and said he is looking forward to locking horns with the Houston right-hander in Sunday's finale between the American League contenders. The way Bauer tells the story, Cole was one in a long line of people who doubted Bauer could succeed in baseball, but the Tribe pitcher said he does not waste mental energy by holding a grudge.

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CLEVELAND -- It is no secret that Indians starter Trevor Bauer and Astros starter Gerrit Cole did not get along during their days as a prolific collegiate pitching duo for the UCLA Bruins. Much has been made over the years of that history, but Bauer took a step toward trying to move on prior to Thursday's game against Houston.

In a lengthy conversation with MLB.com and The Athletic, Bauer praised Cole for the season he has put together for the Astros and said he is looking forward to locking horns with the Houston right-hander in Sunday's finale between the American League contenders. The way Bauer tells the story, Cole was one in a long line of people who doubted Bauer could succeed in baseball, but the Tribe pitcher said he does not waste mental energy by holding a grudge.

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"I have no problem with Gerrit," Bauer said. "We had a rocky relationship in college, because he told me that I had no future in baseball and he insulted my work ethic as a freshman. I don't take kindly to those couple things, so we had our issues. And I have, I don't know, those feelings have long since faded. Right now, it's cool to see him having success. He's done a lot of hard work. He's changed his mechanics around. He's changed his pitch repertoire and how he uses it and his attack plan and stuff like that, and he's having a ton of success with it.

Video: CLE@CHC: Bauer fans 6 over 6 scoreless frames

"And it's good to see, because it's good for him, it's good for me, it's good for the tapestry of our lives. Regardless of how each of us feels about anything, we're intertwined forever. I don't know if two teammates have been drafted as high out of college ever. I'm not sure if that's a thing. I can't imagine it would be, but we're part of a historic team at UCLA. We're part of a historic Draft. We're part of, hopefully, historic careers on both ends.

"I'd love nothing more than to trade Cy Youngs with him for the next 10 years, because it's good for everybody involved. So I'm happy for him. I'm happy that he seems to be healthy this year."

Tweet from @MLBastian: "We're intertwined forever." Trevor Bauer talks Gerrit Cole, and a highly-anticipated matchup years in the making -- https://t.co/AJEvvSCNaC

After their 2011 season at UCLA -- a campaign that netted Bauer the Golden Spikes Award -- Cole went first overall in the MLB Draft to the Pirates, while Bauer went third overall to the D-backs. The way they are pitching so far this season, both could wind up in the AL Cy Young Award conversation. Cole is 5-1 with a 1.86 ERA, 101 strikeouts and 17 walks in 67 2/3 innings. Bauer has a 2.35 ERA with 73 strikeouts vs. 23 walks in 65 innings.

Video: SF@HOU: Cole strikes out 8 in 6 strong innings

Bauer said it will be "kind of like the old days" to be in the spotlight with Cole on Sunday in Cleveland. The Indians starter added that the series should be a source of pride for UCLA baseball, considering that Adam Plutko (the Bruins' third starter behind the duo in 2011) is now a member of the Indians' rotation, too.

"It's just really cool to see our entire 2011 pitching rotation is [here] for this series with the Astros," Bauer said. "So that's pretty cool to see. It's a testament to all of the talent level and the hard work of all three members of that staff that are now here. It's just really cool. Very cool."

Worth noting
• Right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall (10-day disabled list, right calf strain) has gone 2-for-3 with a walk through two Minor League rehab games with Triple-A Columbus. Indians manager Terry Francona noted that Chisenhall would use Thursday as a workout day before playing in back-to-back Minor League games on Friday and Saturday.

• Outfielder Tyler Naquin (10-day DL, left hamstring strain) has resumed full baseball activities and did some sprinting drills on Thursday. Outfielders Bradley Zimmer (10-day DL, left rib contusion) and Brandon Guyer (10-day DL, neck strain) are getting close to starting Minor League rehab assignments, with Zimmer's potentially beginning this weekend.

• Right-hander Danny Salazar (60-day DL, right shoulder tendinitis) is still feeling discomfort in his throwing arm and may fly to Cleveland from Arizona in the near future to be examined by the Major League medical staff. Lefty Ryan Merritt (60-day DL, left shoulder inflammation) is in Cleveland right now going through rehab work.

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.

Cleveland Indians, Trevor Bauer