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BayBears' Bauer finds his comfort level05/12/2012 2:34 AM ET
By Robert Emrich / Special to MLB.com
Trevor Bauer sits atop the Minor Leagues in numerous pitching categories. The Mobile BayBears own the best record in the Double-A Southern League. Life is good for MLB.com's No. 8 prospect, and he's taking the time to enjoy it.
Bauer struck out nine and allowed an unearned run on six hits over seven innings Friday night as Mobile defeated the Chattanooga Lookouts, 6-1.
The 21-year-old right-hander encountered some early trouble, allowing an RBI double to Blake Smith in the second after Pedro Baez reached on shortstop Wladimir Sutil's throwing error. But Bauer stranded Smith at second by retiring Rafael Ynoa on a popup and striking out Gorman Erickson and pitcher Aaron Miller.
"I just stuck to the same approach I always use -- throw strikes, mix up timing and don't let them hit the ball hard," Bauer said. "It worked out to the point where I got a couple of strikeouts. It worked out for me. I try not to change my approach at all when I get into situations like that. I stick with what I know works and let the results happen as they may.
Bauer (7-1) exited after throwing 103 pitches, matching his longest out of the season. He struck out nine for the fourth time in his young career, two shy of his personal best. All in all, a pretty good night.
"I had my changeup, reverse slider, curveball and fastball working," Bauer said. "My slider was nowhere to be found. I did a good job mixing up the fastball and reverse to get to two strikes, and I had a pretty good feel for my curveball. And I was able to get some guys on that."
Bauer is the second Minor Leaguer to record seven wins, with Frisco's Barret Loux having beaten him to the punch by one day. The UCLA product is second in the Minors behind Red Sox prospect Matt Barnes with 60 strikeouts and his 1.68 ERA tops the Southern League.
Bauer expressed disappointment at failing to overtake Barnes and said he's not focused on a promotion.
""I like Double-A, it's fun. I'm enjoying it," the third overall pick in the 2011 Draft said. "Last year, it was tough to have fun because everything was going so quickly and I was trying to learn this about the system and that about the system. I'm trying to have some fun at the start of the year; it's pretty easy to have fun when things are going well. I'm just trying to enjoy it.
"I'm a little more comfortable this year than I was last year. I know the system, I know the routine, I know what to expect. There's a lot of stuff that contributes to me being able to enjoy it. We did a lot of winning last year as a team, but I just wasn't really comfortable because I didn't know all the guys. They'd been there for an entire season and I felt like I was coming in at the end and I wasn't really part of what they accomplished."
Since joining the D-backs organization, Bauer's rise to the Majors has seemed almost inevitable. He's trying not to think about it and enjoy the Minor League ride while he's still on it.
"Whenever the time comes, I'll be ready," Bauer said. "Whatever happens, I'm kind of tired of thinking about [the Majors]. All of my friends are saying, 'When are you going to get called up, I wanna see a game.' I don't want to think about. I want to pitch and have fun."
Matt Davidson, Arizona's No. 5 prospect, went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and Yazy Arebelo also had a pair of RBIs for the BayBears.