December 22, 2014

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Indians notes: Trevor Bauer to join Tribe for spot start today

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer

CLEVELAND — Right-hander Trevor Bauer will get the opportunity to make an early season impression, drawing a spot start in today’s traditional doubleheader against the Padres.

Bauer will be promoted from Triple-A Columbus to pitch Game 2.

“His last four outings have been pretty good,” manager Terry Francona said of Bauer, who allowed just a run on two hits and struck out nine over seven innings of his debut outing with Columbus. “Hopefully he steps in and gives us six or seven good (innings) and we’ll go from there.

“I think he’s better situated right now. I think he’s more comfortable with himself, with us, and if he doesn’t pitch the game of his life, that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be a good pitcher.”

It was a well-publicized season of struggles for Bauer, 23, during his debut in Cleveland last year. He struggled as a spot starter in the majors (1-2, 5.29 ERA in four starts) and in the minors with Columbus (6-7, 4.15 ERA in 22 starts), and rankled some within the organization with his quirky pre-game routine and his constant mechanical tinkering.

Francona said Bauer, Arizona’s first-round draft choice (third overall) in 2011, told him he had never endured struggles such as the ones he experienced in 2013.

“I think he was trying to get his delivery where he was back to being comfortable, and it was hard,” Francona said. “I think it was a tough year for him. I think the thing that gets missed along the way is he’s a really good kid. He might not be the loudest guys when there’s a group. That’s just the way he’s built.”

Bauer was among a number of candidates for the final spot in the rotation this spring. The job went to right-hander Carlos Carrasco, but Francona saw an improved Bauer during the exhibition season.

“His ability to want to pound the strike zone,” Francona said of the difference between Bauer this year and last season. “He’s still a young kid, but I think he’s understanding more and more working ahead and the benefits of that.

Bourny bit

Michael Bourn was in the lineup for Columbus on Tuesday, going 0-for-4 as the center fielder. It was his second rehab appearance, with Francona saying it would take four rehab games at the most before Bourn was ready to join the Indians.

He is expected to join the Indians sometime during their upcoming road trips to Chicago and Detroit.

Recess time

The Indians were able to take batting practice outdoors for just the second time in seven games to start the season. All four of their games at Progressive Field have begun in temperatures below 50 degrees.

“We feel like we’ve been cooped up in (the clubhouse) till game time,” Francona said.

C-bus-bound

Right-hander Frank Herrmann cleared waivers and was assigned to Columbus.

Herrmann, who missed all of last season recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery, was designated for assignment March 30. He made 40 appearances out of Cleveland’s bullpen in consecutive seasons from 2010-11.

Minor detail

Shortstop Francisco Lindor is off to a hot start at Double-A Akron. He entered Tuesday hitting .353 (6-for-17) with a home run and three RBIs in his first four games for the RubberDucks.

Roundin’ third

  • The Indians entered Tuesday batting just .191 (13-for-68) with runners in scoring position — .103 (3-for-29) with runners in scoring position and two outs. They were batting .164 (10-for-61) with two outs overall.
  • Of the Indians’ 26 runs through their first six games, 13 were scored in the seventh inning or later.
  • Carlos Santana celebrated his 28th birthday Tuesday.
  • Today, Game 1, 12:05 p.m. vs. Padres. McAllister (0-0, 6.75) vs. Stults (0-1, 11.25). STO; WTAM 1100-AM. Game 2, 20 minutes after first game vs. Padres. Bauer (0-0, 0.00) vs. Erlin (0-0, 0.00).

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him @CAwesomeheimer on Twitter.

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