Tribe appreciates Bauer's gritty Game 3 performance

Coaches, 'mates respect righty for being accountable, pitching with injury

Tribe appreciates Bauer's gritty Game 3 performance

TORONTO -- Trevor Bauer did everything in his power to overcome what has been an embarrassing situation, one that could have crippled the Tribe during this American League Championship Series against the Blue Jays.

During Monday's 4-2 win over Toronto in Game 3 of the ALCS, Bauer attempted to pitch with a considerable laceration on his right pinkie finger, but bowed out after blood began dripping from the wound. One day earlier, the pitcher sat at a podium, alongside the drone that cut open his hand on Thursday night, taking accountability for what was a freak accident.

ALCS Game 5: Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET on TBS/Sportsnet/RDS

From Indians team president Chris Antonetti to manager Terry Francona to pitching coach Mickey Callaway, and down to Bauer's teammates, everyone has appreciated how Bauer has handled the past 48 hours.

"[Bauer] did everything he possibly could have over the last few days," Antonetti said. "He tried to be really accountable for what happened. It was an accident, but it did happen, and he felt terrible about it and tried to be accountable for it, own it and do everything he could to be in a position to pitch as long as possible. Unfortunately, his body just didn't work out that way."

Game Date Matchup TV/Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 14 CLE 2, TOR 0 video
Gm 2 Oct. 15 CLE 2, TOR 1 video
Gm 3 Oct. 17 CLE 4, TOR 2 video
Gm 4 Oct. 18 TOR 5, CLE 1 video
Gm 5 Oct. 19 CLE 3, TOR 0 video

Before the Indians' 5-1 loss in Game 4 on Tuesday afternoon, Francona noted that hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham was scheduled to re-examine Bauer's cut finger, which required 10 stitches. The manager expressed optimism that Bauer could be available out of the bullpen later in the ALCS if the series was pushed to six or seven games. Otherwise, if Cleveland punched its ticket to the World Series earlier, Bauer could be held out until Game 3, giving him 10 days of rest to heal.

The laceration occurred while Bauer was working on one of his personal drones. The pitcher has designed, built and flown the quadcopters for the past several years, and he had never before sustained any type of injury. This time, though, one of the propellers went off and caught Bauer -- and his hand -- by surprise.

After 21 pitches on Monday, Bauer's wound opened, blood began to drip and he was forced to exit the game. That led to an unbelievable effort by Cleveland's bullpen, which worked 8 1/3 innings to help push the Indians one win away from the World Series.

"I'm a competitor. I wanted to be out there," Bauer said. "I wouldn't have gone out there if I didn't want to be out there. It was my turn to pitch, and I expected myself to go deep in the ballgame like I always do. It obviously wasn't fun coming off."

Bauer leaves with finger injury

It is no secret that Bauer has clashed at times not only with his coaches, but with fans on social media and with reporters in interviews. The pitcher made strides this year behind the scenes and on the field, and he won over his teammates with performances that clearly put the team ahead of his personal interests. The support for Bauer in the wake of the drone accident is evidence alone of the progress he has made with those around him.

"I'm really proud of him," Callaway said. "I had to witness everything he had to go through to try and go out there and pitch last night, and not too many people would have done that. He's been wonderful. He's obviously grown over the years, because he wanted to. And he's smart enough that he knew that that's what needed to happen. And he's done such a good job of being accountable for everything that happens. He adjusts. That's what Trevor does.

"He's fun to work with. It's not always easy. It's a challenge sometimes, but that's why we do this job is for things like that. And to see him grow really makes me happy. I was kind of sad last night when he didn't get to keep on pitching, because I know how bad he wanted to be out there. And that attempt was unbelievable."

Bauer returns to dugout

Francona echoed that reaction from Callaway.

"I don't think anybody's ever questioned his ability to want to pitch. We know that," Francona said. "That's one of the things I think we love about it. He wants to pitch. He gave it everything he had. It wasn't his fault it started bleeding. The other stuff -- the Twitter, all that -- I could do without all that. But when you get him to the mound, we trust him and we trust his ability and his wanting to compete. That's never in question."

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.