KANSAS CITY -- The Indians have talked to Trevor Bauer about potentially pitching on short rest in the postseason. The right-hander not only expressed his willingness to do that, but he also let the club know that he is open to also being available as a reliever.
"If it was up to me," Bauer said on Friday, "I'd pitch and be ready to start or be available out of the 'pen every game. In the playoffs, there's really no reason to save anything. So, whenever I can get in there, whenever they want me to get in there, I'll be ready."
Cleveland will likely not use that kind of extreme approach with Bauer, but the club certainly appreciates the work he has put in to provide a durable option. With the start of the American League Division Series looming on Thursday -- opponent and location to be determined -- the Indians are weighing their rotation choices for Game 1 and 2.
Should the first-round series extend to a Game 4, the starter who pitched Game 1 may be asked to return on three days' rest. Ace Corey Kluber is an obvious candidate to start the first game of the ALDS, but he is coming back from a mild quadriceps strain. If they are confident in Bauer as a short-rest alternative, there is a chance he could start Game 1.
"That's something that we need to talk through," manager Terry Francona said. "We've already talked with him. We need to talk through it with the staff, and we need to talk to Kluber more, too. We want to get a better feel for where he is, and we're not going to know that for a little bit. That's kind of why we're waiting to see what's going on here."
While Kluber has never pitched on short rest, Bauer has experience with it once already this season. After logging six innings and 100 pitches in Atlanta on June 27, Bauer worked the final five innings (83 pitches) in a 2-1, 19-inning win over the Blue Jays on July 1. Bauer had logged an aggressive bullpen session on the previous day, too. That showed he is capable of handling that type of situation.
"We have confidence in what he's going to go out there and give you," pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "Instead of thinking he can do it, and knowing he's willing to do it in a playoff atmosphere, now you kind of think, 'Well, we know he can be effective, too, because he's done it before.'"
Kluber plays long toss
Kluber, who exited Monday's division-clinching win after four innings due to the quadriceps issue, played catch up to 150 feet prior to Friday's game. Callaway noted that Kluber also worked in some crow-hop throws to test his legs and felt fine. The Indians have yet to determine a specific day for Kluber to throw off a mound.
"He's making progress," Francona said. "It's going to go completely off of him. We can set up all we want, but until he's ready, we don't want to [push him]. He'll push enough. We don't need to push."
Salazar throws off mound
Callaway noted that right-hander Danny Salazar (right forearm strain) threw a light 15-pitch bullpen session on Friday afternoon. Salazar, who is aiming to join the ALDS bullpen, will take at least one day off before returning to the mound. Francona noted that Salazar might pitch a simulated game on Monday.
"He got through it good. He looked good," Callaway said of Salazar's latest workout. "The next step is just really have him come in [Saturday] and see how he feels. After that, we're not exactly sure yet."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.