ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.: Don’t expect Trevor Bauer to be pacing the mound like a skittish cat when he makes his Indians debut tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays.
To him, pitching is pitching and baseball is baseball. And that includes his first-ever big-league start last year for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“That to me was another baseball game,” Bauer said Friday. “It just happened to be in the big leagues. It was not the meteoric event that you’d think. I’m kind of even keel about everything. It’s the same with this game.”
Apparently Bauer didn’t have to train himself to maintain absolute tranquility; he was made that way.
“It’s the way I am,” he said. “I wish I could get more excited. I pitched in the College World Series. I remember seeing it when I was a kid. But when I got there, it was, ‘Oh yeah, I pitched at Rosenblatt [Stadium].’ But in hindsight, it was kind of cool.”
Bauer was scheduled to start the season opener for Triple-A Columbus on Thursday night. Instead, he threw a bullpen to get ready for tonight’s outing.
Manager Terry Francona said there is no concern about keeping Bauer’s pitch count abnormally low. He is stretched out like other starters.
“I have no idea about pitch counts,” Bauer said. “I have a personal vendetta about pitch counts.”
So does Nolan Ryan, who has loosened the reins of Texas Rangers pitchers.
Bauer is here because Scott Kazmir is headed for the disabled list with a strained rib cage and probably will miss two or three starts, even if he comes off the DL when he is eligible, April 17.
There is no guarantee that Bauer will make each of those starts.
“It’s the same as always,” he said. “You handle the day you’re living in and then handle the next day.”
One obstacle to Bauer’s continued tenure in Cleveland is Carlos Carrasco, who will finish serving his six-day suspension on Sunday.
“We’ve got Bauer, [Justin] Masterson, Ubaldo [Jimenez] and then Carrasco will start Tuesday,” Francona said. “Then we can get everybody back in line.”
That means the starts of Brett Myers and Zach McAllister will be pushed back a day.
And after the next turn of the rotation, Francona will determine whether Carrasco or Bauer stays. Or maybe something else will happen to change the Tribe’s mix of pitchers.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at http://www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.