Trevor Bauer has a well-earned reputation for his unique approach to pitching, and that was on full display in just his second Spring Training start for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bauer spent the majority of the first inning pitching with his right eye closed. Jurickson Profar singled to open the game and Tommy Pham followed with a walk. Neither scored as Bauer retired the next three batters faced, ending the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
He pointed to his right eye being shut while walking off the mound. “I figure if they can’t score off me with one eye open, it’s going to be difficult to score off me with two eyes open,” he explained.
“Just having a little bit of fun.”
Bauer acknowledged there was a specific reason to the peculiar practice, but added, “If I wanted to share, I definitely would’ve already.” The 30-year-old later offered some insight by explaining the challenging circumstance can ultimately be beneficial.
“I like making myself uncomfortable and throwing different stuff my way and trying to find a solution for it. I think that’s how you improve,” Bauer said. “You find a way to make yourself uncomfortable, get comfortable with it and do it again.”
Profar was seen on camera having a brief talk with Bauer between innings, which wound up being lighthearted in nature. “He just said, ‘It’s going to be fun to compete against you this year,'” Bauer revealed.
“I kind of laughed and said, ‘Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun.’ We’ve played against each other for a long time in the American League when he was with Texas. I don’t know him personally off the field, but on the field we have a pretty good relationship. Just having fun.”
Behind the combination of at times only pitching with one eye open and other cases of having normal vision, Bauer finished with three strikeouts over three scoreless innings. One fastball touched 98 mph.
“I was kind of working on my mechanics. My lower half wasn’t functioning quite right my first outing,” Bauer said. “I was up to 96 (mph) in my first outing, and had better delivery and mechanics today. I was really pleased with that, for sure.”
Roberts embracing Bauer
The Dodgers’ signing of Bauer earned them criticism due to his history on social media and tendency to be a bit of a polarizing figure. Within the team, however, there has been constant praise.
“Trevor’s great. I just love the way he pushes boundaries. You don’t what works or doesn’t work unless you try it,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s got a pretty good grasp on what it takes to get right and keep him right. He’s been a treat.”
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