Bauer making strong impression on teammates

Bauer making strong impression on teammates

Bauer making strong impression on teammates
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Like most of his veteran teammates, D-backs closer J.J. Putz was interested to see what all the buzz was about regarding top prospect Trevor Bauer.

After a few weeks of camp and two starts by the young right-hander, Putz likes what he's seen.

"I'm just very impressed with him," Putz said.

Understand that Putz is not just talking about the results Bauer has gotten on the mound. His stuff in his six-up, six-down first outing and a solid, if not spectacular, second start, was evident to even the casual fan.

For Putz and his teammates it's also about the way the No. 3 overall pick in last year's Draft acts in the clubhouse.

"He carries himself well," Putz said. "He's very respectful of everybody. I think he understands his place in this game right now -- that he's a young kid coming up. He's not afraid to ask questions, which is another good quality."

Bauer's comments after his last start against the Mariners seemed to strike the right balance between confidence in his abilities and respect for the challenge in front of him.

"I just worry about myself trying to get better," Bauer said. "I don't [know] if I'm ready for the Major Leagues or not, so I just try to learn and execute better every time I go out."

Bauer's well-documented pregame routine, which includes a long toss session that can go from one foul pole to the other, has prompted teammates and opposing players to stand and watch.

"There's not a lot of people that even understand what he's doing," Putz said. "But if you want to sit down and ask him the science and the physics behind it, he knows. And you know what, I can't sit there and say it's not right. Who are you to say it's not right, you don't know anything about it. He keeps going out there with stuff like this, doing what he's doing, I don't think anyone is going to have a problem with anything he does."

As one of the acknowledged leaders in the clubhouse, Putz's words carry a great deal of weight and are a good indication of how Bauer has been received thus far.

Bauer, the D-backs No. 1 prospect and No. 9 overall prospect by, has seemed to take the ribbing that comes with being a first-timer in big league camp in stride.

Some lessons came early -- like when he showed up 30 minutes before pitchers and catchers had to be in uniform on the first day of camp, only to realize other teammates had been there for hours.

When the veterans sent him out with the other young pitchers to the Renaissance Festival dressed in medieval garb, he seemed to embrace it.

Through it all, Bauer has gained respect for the time he has put into getting better.

"I don't think anybody is really going to outwork that kid," Putz said. "The kid's dedicated, he's a baseball junkie, he works his butt off and I'm just impressed that someone that young is so committed.

"He loves the game. I've got nothing but respect for what he's doing. Anytime you're committed to something, whether it's the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do, if you're committed to it, it's the right thing for you. People can say what they want about it being so unorthodox, but you know what, if he believes it, it's going to work for him."

Arizona manager Kirk Gibson, who knows a thing or two about work ethic, agrees.

"He's unique," Gibson said. "This is all very interesting to watch how he approaches it. He's certainly as dedicated and as intense about what he does as anyone I've ever seen."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.