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As things currently stand, Bauer projects to be a part of a promising starting quarter that includes Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. Of those four pitchers, Bauer experienced the most inconsistency last season, though his showing in 2015 was the best campaign of the young righty's career.
During his Cactus League debut in Friday's 5-5 tie with the White Sox, Bauer began his buildup toward the 2016 season with a two-inning outing in which he gave up two runs on three hits, including a pair of home runs, at Camelback Ranch. He struck out two and walked none in his first official spring appearance.
Over the winter, Bauer concentrated on velocity training, and he said his main goal this spring is to continue to make progress with his pitch speeds. On Friday morning, Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway also noted that Bauer plans on using the next few weeks to focus on his two-seam sinker and cut fastball. Callaway said the goal for the cutter is to improve the late movement on the pitch.
"He's working on his two-seamer, which he threw more last year," Callaway said. "And we're also focusing on his cutter, which was kind of a slurvy pitch last season. He's thrown it a lot in bullpens, and it looks really good so far. It has better late break."
Against Chicago, Bauer estimated that he threw five or six cutters.
"It went good," Bauer said.
As for his mentality this spring, Bauer said having a job in the rotation has not altered his approach.
"I come into camp like I'm trying to get ready, like I have to win a job, every year," said Bauer, who went 11-12 with a 4.55 ERA and 170 strikeouts in 176 innings last season. "It's the same type of mentality I've always had."
For his first spring outing, Bauer said his goal was simple.
"Throw hard. Throw strikes. Be healthy," he said.