CLEVELAND -- Although Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona would not have guessed how starting pitcher Trevor Bauer injured his pitching hand, he was not surprised by the explanation when he got to the ballpark ahead of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at Progressive Field Friday.
Bauer suffered a laceration to the pinkie finger on his throwing hand while doing “routine maintenance” on his drone. Because the wound took 10 stitches to close, the Indians bumped Bauer back in the rotation, and instead of starting Game 2 this afternoon, he has been pushed to Game 3 in Toronto Monday night.
“Trevor is definitely…has his own thoughts,” Francona said prior to Game 1.
“This was not malicious. He wasn’t doing something that…He could have been opening a box in the kitchen. Things happen. I wish it wouldn’t have, but like I said, it wasn’t done maliciously. It was done by being silly. Just happened.”
Bauer is known for his unique approach to pitching, including playing long toss from foul pole to foul pole on the days he is scheduled to throw. But to Francona, as long as Bauer is effective when he takes the ball in the center of the diamond every fifth day, that is the most important thing.
“When it’s all said and done, some of it’s overblown, some of the things he does pitching-wise,” Francona said. “I think actually, he has a lot of really good routines, to be completely honest.
“He has worked hard to understand how we think, feel about things, and I’m pretty confident that we’ve tried to do the same. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. He’s made a lot of adjustments along the way. I’d rather him do that than getting himself into trouble. He’s a kid that cares about winning. He’s very competitive, and I think just because everybody’s different, you have to respect that, as opposed to maybe thumbing your nose at it.”
While Francona was counting on Bauer to start Game 2, the timing of the injury did not throw off any long-term plans for the Indians, so long as the young right-hander is able to get the wound closed and prevents it from opening up in Game 3.
“In the grand scheme of things, all it is, is us flip-flopping them,” Francona said. “We have to win four games anyway, and they were going to pitching.
“The challenge for the doctors will be to make sure this thing, by the time he pitches, has healed enough where it’s not bleeding, and we’re fortunate that Dr. Graham is actually here in Cleveland. He’s one of the best in probably the world, and he’s really confident that by the time his turn comes around, he’ll be okay.”