July 24, 2014

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Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer eager to put offseason changes to the test today against Reds in first spring training game

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Trevor Bauer is going to get a chance to show off his new delivery with the Indians’ first pitch of spring training.

The right-hander made some adjustments in the offseason and is scheduled to start Cleveland’s first exhibition game today against the Cincinnati Reds.

“I put in a lot of work,” Bauer said. “I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

The 23-year-old pitcher was out of sync last season.

A groin injury with Arizona in 2012 forced him to change his delivery. He spent a lot of time in this offseason trying to get it right again.

Bauer is among a group of pitchers competing for the fifth spot in Cleveland’s rotation. The competition includes Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin, Shaun Marcum and recently signed Aaron Harang, who will follow Bauer to the mound today.

Bauer has had two bullpen sessions during spring training and gotten mixed results.

“The first bullpen, I felt bad,” Bauer said. “I looked at the video and it wasn’t that bad.”

The second one was disconcerting.

“His first bullpen was pretty good,” manager Terry Francona said. “The second was a bad one. He was frustrated. If it is going to happen, it’s good that it’s happening now.”

Bauer split last season between Triple-A Columbus and Cleveland. He started four games for the Indians and went 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA, giving up 15 hits in 17 innings. Bauer started 22 games at Columbus, where he was 6-7 with a 4.15 ERA.

“They have been patient with me,” Bauer said. “Coming off my worst year, it is good to be here and have some fun again.”

Harang, a 12-year veteran, could give the Indians another option for the rotation.

“Harang is a veteran that knows how to pitch,” Francona said. “I think he feels good about himself. We’re looking forward to this. We were almost to the point of being too honest with him. You almost want to paint the picture a little bleaker than it is because the last thing you want to do is manipulate a guy to get him into camp. That doesn’t work.

“What we did promise him was that he would get his innings because that’s important,” Francona added. “We will kind of see where it leads.”

Bauer is a less-expensive option to cover the loss of Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir to free agency.

“The price of pitching can be a little crazy,” Francona said. “There are guys within our organization that we can win with. You see a lot of non-roster invitees that have a definite chance to make our ballclub.

“It’s not so much the economics of the game but the way the winter plays out.”

Play ball

The scheduled order of Tribe pitchers for today’s Cactus League opener: Bauer, Harang, Nick Hagadone, Colt Hynes, T.J. House, C.C. Lee, J.C. Ramirez and Preston Guilmet.

Barring a last-minute change, the Iineup will be center fielder Nyjer Morgan, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, second baseman Jason Kipnis, third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, left fielder Ryan Raburn, catcher Yan Gomes, right fielder Jeff Francoeur, first baseman David Cooper, designated hitter David Adams and Bauer.

“I probably won’t play (first baseman Nick) Swish(er) for four or five days because I think he felt like we went too quickly last year,” Francona said. “So if we’re going to do that, I’d like to give the at-bats to the guys who are competing (for spots).”

Francona said he expects center fielder Michael Bourn to get “a couple of at-bats” Thursday.

McClatchy Newspapers contributed to this story.

TODAY

WHO: Cleveland vs. Cincinnati
WHAT: Spring training opener
TIME: 3:05 p.m.
WHERE: Goodyear Ballpark, Goodyear, Ariz.
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM