Stage Is Set For
D-back Bauer’s Debut
Injuries To Daniel Hudson And Joe Saunders Thrusts The Pitching Phenom Smack Dab Into The Middle Of A Battle For A Playoff Spot
By Bob Goodwood
Modern Times Magazine
June 28, 2012 — When Trevor Bauer was selected No. 3 overall last summer, the impression was that he was motivated to make his major league debut a few weeks after he was a collegian at UCLA.
Even though Bauer initially impressed, he later struggled. The Arizona Diamondbacks rolled to a National League West crown and everyone looked to a 2012 debut. When Joe Saunders signed late in the offseason, things changed. General Manager Kevin Towers and others in the organization were able to let the 21-year-old experience professional baseball at the upper levels of the minor leagues.
In the meantime, Bauer’s legend grew as word spread of his controversial throwing programs — including long toss from foul pole to foul pole before starts — and a penchant to warm up in the bullpen while wearing his Ipod.
He has also been a boon to journalists wanting to pick his brain about how he approaches batters. When he was summoned to meet with the D-backs front office last week, it was clear that they wanted him to be prepared to step into the electron microscope that is major league baseball.
No one is expecting Bauer to come in and throw no-hitters every night, as Kirk Gibson called it Wednesday. Yet, Bauer has not struggled at any point in his career so better than average results are expected.
And the D-backs could use the boost.
Sure, Stephen Drew’s first major league game Wednesday is a plus to a team that has suffered serious setbacks to the pitching staff, but he is still working his way back and might not be “all the way back” until 2013. With two pitchers down — Saunders with soreness and Hudson with a torn ulnar collateral ligament — they need someone to step up and now.
Before the season, Hudson was to serve as the D-backs “number two starter” with Ian Kennedy as the ace, but the baseball fates had other plans. As the season has unfolded, Wade Miley — a guy most overlooked heading into spring training — has become the ace of the staff and even an early Rookie of the Year and Cy Young candidate. Saunders ended up being the number two most of the season. If Bauer or Josh Collmenter — who has been tabbed to fill Hudson’s spot — can perform up to expectations, the D-backs might be able to stay in the playoff race.
Since the end of the season-opening series against the Giants, it has been clearly obvious that while the Diamondbacks strengthened their roster on paper in the offseason, they having been missing perhaps the most important ingredient for a winning baseball club. Call it magic, mojo or electricity, but the impact is the same.
Think Justin Upton in 2007 and Paul Goldschmidt last year.
A young kid with revolutionary ideas and plus stuff just might be an ‘abracadabra’ moment for the Diamondbacks in 2013.
No one knows, the fun part is the ride. And that ride begins Thursday night.
Bob Goodwood lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. Reach him directly at email@example.com.
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