Adapting to big leagues part of process for Bauer

Adapting to big leagues part of process for Bauer

Adapting to big leagues part of process for Bauer
PHOENIX -- For a 21-year-old, D-backs right-hander Trevor Bauer is set in his ways. He knows what has worked for him in the past, and he doesn't want to stray too far from that.

But the Major League level is different than anything the top prospect has faced, and D-backs manager Kirk Gibson predicts Bauer will adapt eventually, whether he knows it now or not.

"You live and you learn, he's going to change, we all change," Gibson said. "If he continues to get bad results, he's going to change. If not, he won't be here, no different than anybody else. It's a process. I used to stand with my hands low, I thought I was never going to change. But then I got tired of striking out, and all the sudden I put them higher. It's going to happen for everybody."

In his first two starts, Bauer surrendered nine runs (eight earned) on 11 hits and seven walks in 7 1/3 innings.

By his own admission, what didn't work for him was getting his breaking pitches over for strikes, so opposing hitters were sitting back and waiting for fastballs and changeups.

Bauer said he compounded the damage by throwing the fastballs low in the zone. Generally, pitchers don't try to hurl heaters for strikes up in the zone, but Bauer does not fit into that mold.

"Ninety-five percent of the hard-hit balls are pitches at the bottom of the strike zone," he said. "When I'm executing and throwing fastballs at the top of the zone, I've never been hit consistently. Sometimes people guess and hit a ball out, but that's not going to happen on a consistent basis."

Whether that plan works in the big leagues remains to be seen, but Bauer did agree that he needed to work with catcher Miguel Montero more to get a feel for each other.

Bauer shook off Montero's calls multiple times in his last start Tuesday against the Padres.

"We're going to have a meeting and discuss how he likes to call games and how I like to throw games and find some middle ground," Bauer said. "I haven't thrown to him very much. I throw drastically different than most people throw. We haven't had time to talk about it."

Whether Bauer could benefit from Montero's knowledge of hitters in the National League, the pitcher isn't sure of either.

"I don't throw to hitters' weaknesses, I throw to my strengths," Bauer said. "My approach is independent from who is at the plate. It'll be helpful to get his knowledge on what pitch the guy is looking for, though. He can see different things back there. Once we have a meeting and get on the same page, it'll be easier to know he's calling a pitch for a reason."

The rookie put some of the failures he's experienced on a nagging groin injury that forced him to leave his first outing in Atlanta early and also hampered him Tuesday.

But he said the groin was doing much better the last few days.

"It's frustrating more than anything, I hadn't felt my groin in more than a month before this," he said. "For me, I tend to focus on the frustration part and the negative part. I'm working on being more positive."

Even though it hasn't been smooth sailing for Bauer in his first two weeks of the Majors, he isn't down on himself at all. Instead, he still carries the same swagger with him that Gibson said is "what makes him good."

"I know when I execute my pitches and my game plan, I'll be effective no matter who I'm playing," he said. "I didn't execute last time, that happens. If there's ever a time when I execute my game plan a few times and I still get lit up, I'll make an adjustment on my game plan."