Press-Telegram (Long Beach)

Bauer uses a little shuteye to correct

- By Bill Plunkett bplunkett@scng.com @billplunke­ttocr on Twitter

GLENDALE, ARIZ. » There’s only one eye in “unconventi­onal.”

In his second start of the spring, right-hander Trevor Bauer gave the Dodgers an early look at some of his free thinking. While struggling some with his command in the first inning, Bauer resorted to a unique fix.

He closed one eye.

“I was a little erratic,” said Bauer, who went to a full count twice while giving up a single, a walk and a wild pitch — though unclear how many eyes were engaged at that point — to the first two batters of the game on his way to throwing 27 pitches in the first inning.

“It generally takes me a little time to lock in at the start of the game early in spring just because I don’t have the number of innings under my belt that I do when the season starts where I can just hit the ground running from pitch one. So I challenged myself today too and had my eye closed pretty much the entire first inning.

“I like making myself uncomforta­ble and throwing different stuff my way and trying to find a solution for it. I think that’s how you improve — find a way to make yourself uncomforta­ble and get comfortabl­e with it and then do it again.”

The one-eyed approach was not a one-off either. Bauer said he does it on a regular basis.

“I train that way every single day — bullpens, long tosses, live at-bats during the offseason, stuff like that,” Bauer said. “Like I said, I like making myself uncomforta­ble and finding new solutions and then doing it again. It’s all part of the process.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he noticed what Bauer was doing on the mound against the San Diego Padres on Saturday but couldn’t help chuckling when asked for his opinion of the unusual training method.

“I did notice. It was the right eye closed on a handful of pitches,” Roberts 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. There is a method to his madness and he worked through it. Apparently that was the key.”

Bauer did escape the first-inning danger without any damage, freezing Victor Caratini with a nasty curveball and pointing to his right eye as he walked off the mound after striking out Ha-seong Kim to end the inning. After the first two batters reached base, Bauer retired nine of the next 10 he faced, hitting a springhigh 98 mph on the radar gun after making some mechanical adjustment­s in how he was using the

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Today: Dodgers at Rangers, spring training, 12:10 p.m., SNLA

lower half of his body in his first start.

And, of course, one adjustment with how he was using the upper half of his body.

“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,” he joked. “Just having a little bit of fun.”

Bauer also had some fun with the budding Dodgers-Padres rivalry, taunting Manny Machado, who did not play Saturday. Neither did Fernando Tatis Jr., Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and a number of regulars on both sides.

But Bauer has a particular reason to keep an eye out for Machado. The Padres third baseman is 10 for 17 with two doubles and four home runs in his career against Bauer.

“I’m just mad that Manny didn’t make the trip. He’s already ducking me,” Bauer joked Saturday. “I just wanted to face Manny. I wanted to see him. Manny’s ducking me.

“Just wait. It’s going to be a fun year.”

 ?? ROSS D. FRANKLIN — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer pitches with his right eye closed during a Cactus League game against the San Diego Padres on Saturday at Camelback Ranch.
ROSS D. FRANKLIN — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer pitches with his right eye closed during a Cactus League game against the San Diego Padres on Saturday at Camelback Ranch.
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