After four major-league starts, the Diamondbacks have seen enough of rookie phenom Trevor Bauer.
He’s headed back to the minors to work on his command. The team on Wednesday optioned Bauer to Triple-A Reno and recalled right-hander Jonathan Albaladejo in his place.
The move followed Bauer’s most erratic outing since he was called up June 28, a three-inning effort on Tuesday night in Cincinnati. Bauer, 21, gave up four runs (three earned) in three innings, falling to 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in 16 1/3 innings. He allowed just one hit but walked five, threw two wild pitches and made an errant pickoff throw.
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“It’s pretty obvious — I couldn’t throw a strike when I wanted to,” Bauer said. “You put five guys on base and you’re going to get beat.”
Bauer told FOX Sports Arizona on Wednesday that he understood the decision.
“I’m fine with it. It’s about winning up here, and I wasn’t giving the team a very good chance to win. I need to go down and work on being able to throw strikes,” he said.
“I got healthy, and so I was trying to get my mechanics where they need to be. They’re just so inconsistent right now.
“It is frustrating given that I know I’m so much better than this. My stuff’s been terrible while I’ve been here. My location’s been terrible. It was never like this in the minor leagues.”
Command issues have been the story of Bauer’s brief major league career. He walked three in his debut in Atlanta, in which he was troubled by a mild groin strain, and followed that up by walking four in an abbreviated second start against San Diego. Neither outing lasted more than four innings.
Bauer saved his spot in the rotation and provided hope that he had figured things out in his last start prior to the All-Star break, throwing six scoreless innings of two-hit ball against the Dodgers.
Manager Kirk Gibson attributed Bauer’s struggles to a lack of experience.
“He’s got great stuff. He’s not consistent with it,” Gibson said Wednesday.
“It’s a way different game than he’s used to. I just chalk it up that he needs more seasoning.
“I think he’ll be back. Trevor’s highly motivated. He understands. He wants to his pitch. He wants to work on his stuff and get better.”
With the D-backs recalling a reliever in Albaladejo, Josh Collmenter is expected to get another shot in the rotation. He pitched well in three recent spot starts, going 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA.
Albaladejo, 29, joins the D-backs for the third time this season. He has made two appearances, totaling two innings and posting a 9.00 ERA. Albaladejo ranks second in the Pacific Coast League with 17 saves and is 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA in 35 relief appearances.
Albaladejo also has previous major league experience with the Nationals and Yankees, posting a 6-3 record with a 4.28 ERA over 75 2/3 innings.