Bauer comes back to Earth in second start

PEORIA, Ariz. — The Trevor Bauer Show took to the road Friday, and though the results weren’t quite as impressive as in his spring debut earlier in the week, the buzz dropped off only slightly.

The 21-year-old Diamondbacks prospect followed up his dominant debut with a more down-to-Earth performance against the Mariners, allowing two runs on four hits in three innings at Peoria Sports Complex. Bauer was perfect in two innings his last time out, but Friday’s result barely fazed him.

“I really don’t pay attention to results,” Bauer said. “I pay attention to how I execute my pitches, and you’re never going to execute at 100 percent efficiency, especially not outing to outing. I think I executed a little bit better last time, a little bit worse today, but that’s to be expected, especially it being only my second time facing hitters.”

Utilizing his entire repertoire, Bauer threw 44 pitches Friday and struck out two batters. Leadoff hitter Chone Figgins worked to a full count before Bauer got him to watch a curveball for strike three, but Brendan Ryan followed with a deep triple to center field and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly.

The second inning started similarly for Bauer, with a three-pitch strikeout of Carlos Peguero followed by a deep double from Alex Liddi, who scored on a single up the middle. Bauer then pitched a perfect third inning on nine pitches.

“I was missing more down in the zone today than I like to,” Bauer said. “I was getting the ball at the knees and they were hitting it. … I wasn’t too happy about that, but hey, live and learn.”

The outing helped illustrate the point D-backs manager Kirk Gibson made earlier in the day: Bauer still has plenty to learn and is not going to come out perfect every time.

“He threw good, (but) he made some mistakes, left some balls over the plate,” Gibson said. “Obviously, he’s got good stuff, he’s very talented. … We’re learning him as well, so it was a good day for him.”

Bauer, the No. 3 overall pick in last June’s amateur draft, isn’t expected to start the season with the D-backs, but he’s still garnering plenty of attention locally and nationally this spring. His stuff is electric, but his atypical routines are turning more heads than anything. His elaborate stretching routine attracted plenty of eyes Friday, as did his pregame long toss, which is typically from foul pole to foul pole.

“He’s unique,” Gibson said. “It’s all very interesting to watch how he approaches it. Certainly, he’s dedicated and he’s as intense about what he does as anybody I’ve ever seen.”

If Gibson’s words aren’t enough to verify Bauer’s ultra-motivated personality, his off day activities ought to be. While many players took Thursday’s off day as a chance to hit the links or just relax at home, Bauer was at Salt River Fields throwing balls against a net by himself.

“I knew Trevor was going to come in,” Gibson said, noting Bauer threw for about 20 minutes.

Added Bauer: “I hate the feeling of going out there and trying to pitch and hit locations after not having thrown the day before.”

Bauer started Friday in place of Josh Collmenter, the D-backs’ projected fifth starter, who was scratched with tightness in his right forearm. Collmenter is expected to throw a bullpen session Sunday in preparation for a Wednesday start, and his status could dictate whether Bauer gets another spring start. Gibson said last week he expected Bauer to get two.

Bauer also took a ball off his left calf in the third inning, but he finished the game and later said he was fine.

PUTZ DEBUTS AT LAST

After a deliberately light start to spring training, D-backs closer J.J. Putz made his spring debut Friday, pitching one inning and allowing one run on two hits, including a solo home run to Peguero.

“I went out there and accomplished pretty much everything I wanted to,” Putz said. “I threw some good pitches, left one pitch kind of middle of the plate to a guy that’s got a lot of power.

“It’s a work in progress, but a lot of positives today.”

Putz likes to split his spring trainings between back fields and game appearances to stay fresh for the regular season. He pitched in just two Cactus League games last season, but still posted a career high 45 saves. Gibson expects him to make more regular appearances this spring, including back-to-back outings once near the end of camp.

Putz has been working on a cut fastball this spring, a new pitch in his arsenal, and threw it almost exclusively Friday. The pitch is getting there, Putz said, but he’s still getting a feel for it — as Peguero’s homer illustrated.

“You’re always trying to get better,” Putz said. “It’s just a good pitch to have. … I felt really positive about the way it came out today.”

FRIDAY’S RESULT

The D-backs (2-4-1) snapped a four-game losing streak with an 8-5 win that saw them flash a whole lot of power. Second baseman Aaron Hill got things started in the first inning with a solo home run, and third baseman Ryan Roberts followed with a three-run shot (his third of the spring) in the fourth inning. Center fielder Chris Young and second baseman Rusty Ryal added solo homers in the sixth and seventh inning, respectively.

NOTES

The D-backs meet the Mariners again Saturday in an evening tilt at Salt River Fields. Ian Kennedy is scheduled to make his second start of the spring, and other pitchers slated to be available include Barry Enright, Takashi Saito, David Hernandez, Bryan Shaw, Jensen Lewis, Chris Jakabauskas and Kevin Munson. … Gibson said the team’s focus would begin to shift Saturday from fundamentals to game preparation. The workout load will be lighter and games will be the primary focus so the team can begin to establish a routine for the regular season.