What’s that piece of advice Little League coaches always tell their kids — keep your eye on the ball, right?
Trevor Bauer provided a new twist on that idea.
Eager to challenge himself in a spring training start, the new Los Angeles Dodgers ace kept his right eye closed while pitching out of a first-inning jam Saturday.
He even pointed to the eye as he walked off the mound.
“I like making myself uncomfortable and throwing different stuff my way and trying to find a solution for it,” the NL Cy Young Award winner told Los Angeles media.
“I think that’s how you improve. Find a way to make yourself uncomfortable and get comfortable with it and then do it again,” he said.
After giving up a single to San Diego leadoff man Jurickson Profar and then walking Tommy Pham, Bauer posted a shutout. Eye closed, he retired the next three batters.
Bauer wound up pitching three scoreless innings with the creative approach, striking out three while allowing two hits and a walk.
“I figured if they can’t score off me with one eye open, it’s going to be difficult to score off me with two eyes open,” Bauer said. “Just having a little bit of fun.”
Earlier in the week, fresh off signing a $102 million, three-year contract after leaving the Cincinnati Reds, he threw two shutout innings in his exhibition debut.
Known for speaking his mind and going his own way, Bauer said he regularly shuts one eye during bullpen sessions and other workouts.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts saw it first-hand this time.
“I did notice. It was the right eye closed on a handful of pitches,” he said. “I guess when he can’t get his command that kind of recalibrates him. I think there might have been one curveball I think he did with both eyes closed.”
PADRES 2, DODGERS 1 (7 INNINGS)
Chris Paddack allowed two hits in two scoreless innings in his second start for San Diego. Keone Kela worked a perfect fifth inning, striking out the side.
Matt Davidson doubled and singled for the Dodgers.
METS 6, ASTROS 1 (6)
Jacob deGrom pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut, striking out three and allowing one hit. The two-time NL Cy Young Award also got the word, not that there was any doubt, that he’d start on opening April 1 at Washington.
Pete Alonso hit an RBI double off Houston starter Zack Greinke. James McCann doubled and singled and Dominic Smith homered for New York. Closer Edwin Diaz followed deGrom, pitching a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout in his first outing.
Greinke gave up two hits in his only inning.
NATIONALS 5, MARLINS 3 (6)
Patrick Corbin made his first start for Washington, pitching two innings and allowing a run on two hits while striking out three. Yan Gomes and Andrew Stevenson had RBI singles for the Nats.
Sandy Alcantara made his second start for Miami, striking out six in 2 1/3 innings. He gave up two hits and two walks. Garrett Cooper homered and Jesus Aguilar had an RBI single.
BLUE JAYS 7, PHILLIES 1 (7)
Newcomer Tanner Roark made his first start for Toronto, allowing one hit in two scoreless innings. George Springer singled, stole second and scored on Bo Bichette’s single.
Odubel Herrera singled, took third on Alex Bohm’s double and scored on a wild pitch for Philadelphia’s only run.
PIRATES 3, YANKEES 2 (7)
New York manager Aaron Boone returned to the dugout, three days after surgery to have a pacemaker inserted. Boone, who turns 48 in a few days, returned to camp after clearing COVID-19 protocols and said he felt great.
Jameson Taillon made his first start for the Yankees, pitching against the team that traded him to New York this winter. He struck out four over two scoreless innings. Jay Bruce and Clint Frazier homered.
Gregory Polanco homered and had three hits for Pittsburgh. He already has eight RBIs in exhibition play. Cody Ponce, competing for the final spot in the rotation, made his first start. Ponce worked an inning, surrendering Bruce’s home run and walking two.
WHITE SOX 7, INDIANS 0 (7)
Reynaldo Lopez retired all six batters he faced in the start for the White Sox. Five pitchers combined to shut out the Indians on three hits.
Scott Moss started for Cleveland and allowed two runs on three hits and a walk over two innings. Bryan Shaw walked two and allowed two runs on two hits, but struck out three over two innings.
ROYALS 8, GIANTS 6
Mike Minor retired all six batters he faced in his two-inning start for Kansas City, fanning three. Bobby Witt Jr., the second pick of the 2019 minor league draft, homered and singled.
San Francisco starter Johnny Cueto struck out four of the seven batters he faced in his two innings. Evan Longoria doubled and drove in three runs and Donovan Solano homered for the Giants.
CUBS 3, BREWERS 1 (7)
Shelby Miller struck out three in the two-inning start for the Cubs and Joc Pederson hit his second homer of the spring.
Brett Anderson walked one and struck out two in the one-inning start for Milwaukee and Josh Lindblom followed with two solid innings of relief, striking out three and allowing one hit.
Brewers infielder Luis Urias has a hamstring issue and won’t play in the next game.
“We’ll have him run around the field, most likely run and then take a day of batting practice and groundballs,” manager Craig Counsell said. “But I feel confident. I mean, right now, we’re just going to make him day to day.”
Urias batted .239 with 11 RBIs and a .308 on-base percentage in 41 games last season while playing mostly third base but also making appearances at second base and shortstop. The Brewers are giving him a chance to compete for the starting shortstop job this spring.
ROCKIES 8, ANGELS 2 (7)
Jose Quintana started for Los Angeles and struck out four of the seven batters he faced over two hitless innings.
Dereck Rodriguez worked three innings in the start for the Rockies, giving up a two-run homer to Jo Adell.
ATHLETICS 1, MARINERS 1 (7)
Tony Kemp hit a home run for Oakland.
Seattle announced before the game that outfielder Jarred Kelenic, one of the top prospects in baseball, will be sidelined due to a strained adductor muscle in his left knee. No timeline was given for his return.
RANGERS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 6
Ronald Guzman hit a solo home run and Rougned Odor had a two-run double for Texas.
Zac Gallen worked three strong innings in the start for Arizona, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out three. Ketel Marte doubled twice and scored a run.
TIGERS 6, ORIOLES 5
Felix Hernandez started and worked two rocky innings in his Baltimore debut, allowing two runs and two walks. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, a six-time All-Star who turns 35 next month, is in camp as a non-roster invite on a minor league contract looking to land a job in a wide-open rotation.
Hernandez pitched well last spring for Atlanta and appeared primed to grab a rotation spot before the virus shutdown. He ended up opting out of the 2020 season. The longtime Seattle star was 1-8 with a 6.40 ERA in 2019, his last season with the Mariners.
Oft-injured Michael Fulmer pitched two shutout innings of one-hit ball in his start for Detroit. Spencer Torkelson, the top pick in last year’s amateur draft, was 0 for 2 with a walk.
Adley Rutschman, the No. 1 overall draft selection in 2019, was 1 for 3 with a walk for the Orioles. Jorge Lopez threw three scoreless innings with three strikeouts.