PHOENIX — Diamondbacks rookie pitcher Trevor Bauer on Thursday told reporters he planned to sit down that day or the next with catcher Miguel Montero to “talk about how he likes to call a game, how I like to call a game and find some middle ground.”
He apparently didn’t tell Montero about the meeting. Montero said after Thursday’s game, a 4-1 loss to the Dodgers, that he hadn’t heard anything about a meeting with Bauer. Asked Friday if they’d spoken since Bauer’s last start Tuesday, Montero said they hadn’t yet.
“He hasn’t come to me, so I guess I’m going to have to go to him,” Montero said. “I’ve got a lot of things to worry about right now. I’ve got 12 other pitchers I have to take care of, too.
“I’m not saying he’s not a priority, just not yesterday, not the day before. Maybe today he’s a priority because I’ve got the day off. I’ll find a good time to talk to him.”
Questions arose earlier in the week about Montero and Bauer not being in sync after Montero mentioned Bauer shaking him off repeatedly in the rookie’s second major league start. On Thursday, Bauer raised eyebrows when he answered a question about utilizing Montero’s knowledge of big league hitters with the following:
“I throw completely different in the sense that I don’t try to throw to hitters’ weaknesses. I throw to my strengths. My approach is really hitter-independent. It doesn’t matter who is at the plate; I’m going to throw to my strengths.”
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson stressed Thursday it is not necessarily a quick process for pitchers and catchers to get on the same page when they start working together. Montero echoed that sentiment Friday, saying he and Bauer need to talk and get to know each other’s way of doing things.
Bauer on Thursday seemed almost defiant that he needed no changes to his approach and that he would continue pitching the way he wants to pitch. That could prove a point of contention with Montero, who is willing to work with Bauer’s approach but seems to want more trust from the rookie.
“I understand he pitches his way, but at the same time, we have to have a plan,” Montero said. “If a guy’s a good fastball hitter, yeah, you can throw a fastball, but where?
“It’s just those things. We need to have a little talk, we need to have a little game plan. Guys here make better adjustments than in Double-A or Triple-A.”
Montero couldn’t say for sure when he and Bauer would sit down to iron things out, but it will almost certainly be before Bauer’s next start, which is set for Sunday against the Dodgers in the D-backs’ final game before the All-Star break.
As for how quickly they can get in sync, Montero isn’t sure.
“I really don’t know if it’s going to be a while,” Montero said. “It really just depends on him. Me, I’m up to helping and trying to be on the same page right out of the gate — today or the next start. But it’s not easy.”
The 21-year-old Bauer, the third overall pick in the the 2011 draft, is 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA, having surrendered nine runs (eight earned) on 11 hits and seven walks in 7 1/3 innings. Montero praised Bauer’s talent and said he believes the right-hander will be a good major league pitcher, adding that he wants to help Bauer make the necessary adjustments and fully realize his potential.
“He probably thinks he got here doing his own thing, by his way,” Montero said. “If he fails, he’s going to fail his way, too. I really don’t want that to happen. I really don’t want him to fail, because I think he can be a good pitcher.”