PHOENIX — Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers on Friday said rookie phenom Trevor Bauer’s struggles in the majors were probably for the best and called the 21-year-old’s brief big league stint a “wakeup call.”
Bauer made four starts after a June 28 callup, three of which saw him last no more than four innings and lack command. He was sent back to Triple-A Reno with a 1-2 record and a 6.06 ERA.
Towers appeared on FOX Sports Arizona’s “Diamondbacks Live!” pregame show and addressed Bauer’s time in the majors.
“Breaking into the big leagues is real tough,” Towers said. “Probably the best thing that could have happened to him did happen. I think it was probably a wakeup call right there, and I think the next time is going to me a much better time and I think we’ll see hopefully great success out of him.”
While in the majors, Bauer took some criticism for a perceived unwillingness to adjust to major league hitters. Bauer said he pitches to his strengths, rather than weaknesses of hitters, rendering scouting reports seemingly irrelevant.
“I think he comes across sometimes as arrogant, maybe a little smug,” Towers said. “I don’t think so. There’s no fear definitely. I think what he needs to do is be a little more open-minded.
“When you’ve got guys like J.J. Putz, Johnny McDonald, Aaron Hill, (manager) Kirk Gibson, (pitching coach) Charles Nagy — people who have spent a lot of time up here — all they’re trying to do is give him words of advice, just to help him. I think he’s kind of locked and in his own world at times.”
Reno manager Brett Butler revealed earlier this week Bauer would be shut down for at least a couple starts to re-energize, but also said it was not injury related. Bauer, however, offered later on his Twitter account that he was allowing a couple nagging injuries to rest, though neither related to his arm.
Towers also addressed Bauer’s break Friday and suggested it was indeed physically motivated.
“I think it had to be health related,” Towers said. “I’m sure some of it was mental, but I saw this kid in probably his worst start in Double-A earlier this year and he was (throwing) 95-97 (mph).”
Towers said Bauer, after his last two starts in Triple-A before his callup, told D-backs director of player development Mike Bell he did not have his usual velocity and wasn’t quite right physically. Bauer has dealt with a groin strain most of the season and was hampered by it in his major league debut. He also tweeted that he had been hit by two line drives recently and needed some time to recover.
“We felt like ‘Hey, physically let’s give him a break as well as mentally,'” Towers said. “By the end of the year hopefully that velocity comes back and he’s able to land the multiple pitches he has.”