PHOENIX — Trevor Bauer made an eagerly-anticipated exhibition debut Sunday against the Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park. It couldn’t have gone much better.
Making his first appearance as an Indian, Bauer, a 22-year-old right-hander tossed two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out two to get the win in a 7-4 victory.
“Facing hitters for the first time in live competition is always kind of weird, but it was fun,” Bauer said. “I enjoyed being out there. Baseball’s back.
“I had no expectations. I was just hoping to throw strikes. It’s nice to have a successful first outing. I’ve got a lot of stuff I’m working on and I thought I did pretty well today.”
Manager Terry Francona agreed.
“He used all his pitches. I actually was kind of impressed,” Francona said. “I thought he looked like he was a little excited that first inning, but he threw strikes. His first couple bullpens, he was scattering balls, and he got in the game and threw the ball much better.”
Part of Bauer’s quirky approach includes a strange warmup routine once he gets to the mound. Starting from behind the mound, Bauer runs toward the plate and does a crow hop before throwing his first warmup pitch with gusto.
“I’ve always done it, just to put myself in the mindset that I want to be aggressive and attack,” Bauer said.
Francona doesn’t have an issue with the procedure, though he would never attempt it himself.
“I think if I did that, my arm would fall off,” he said. “He’s 22-years old and it looks like it comes out pretty good. It’s just something he does. As long as he doesn’t do it when he’s pitching, we’re OK.”
Francona isn’t putting too much stock in Ryan Raburn’s fast start this spring. The bench player candidate hit home runs in each of his first three exhibition at-bats, going 1-for-2 Sunday against the Brewers.
“Every spring there’s always a guy that’s hot, there’s always a guy that’s cold. You can’t figure it out,” Francona said. “I do know that for guys like Ryan, I know we say it’s spring training, but they’re playing for their baseball life.”
Raburn fever is catching on, with Nick Swisher wearing his teammate’s jersey in the clubhouse prior to the split-squad games Sunday.
“Yeah, he was talking about switching numbers and names,” Raburn said of Swisher. “That’s all right, as long as we switch contracts, too.”
Proving he is as loose as they come, Francona posted a picture in the clubhouse of himself in an oversized Indians hat with a goofy look on his face. The caption below the photo read, “I demand respect.”
“What’s the saying, we try to take our jobs seriously, but ourselves not so seriously?” Francona joked. “If GQ doesn’t come calling now, they never will.”
Single-game tickets go on sale today. … Today, 3:05 p.m. vs. A’s at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Masterson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Werner (0-0, 0.00). Indians.com (live).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.