Bauer, Salazar continuing to grow, learn from others
Young pitchers not afraid to ask for guidance from coaches, veterans
PHOENIX -- Trevor Bauer, a 23-year-old pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, said he enjoys learning not only for personal improvement, but also as a conduit to share the knowledge he receives. His twitter feed (@BauerOutage) periodically shows personally made pitching tips and tutorials for fans and aspiring players.
"It gives [fans] some sort of connection. If I can connect, then it's worth it to me. There's a lot of noise in social media, but that's why I like using it to connect with these kids and help them with baseball," Bauer said.
"I like helping people out. I've learned a lot in baseball so far," he said. "There are a lot of kids out there that haven't had the opportunities I've had and have the information I have."
But for young pitchers like Bauer in Spring Training, learning never stops -- it's a priority.
After being drafted as a first-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Bauer was traded in late 2012 to the Indians. Bauer said he has been learning a lot since his trade.
"I try to get information from everybody around, whether it be another rookie or a 15- to 20-year veteran," Bauer said. "I try to pick up from everybody I'm around, and sometimes you pick stuff up when you don't even realize you're picking stuff up, just from being around people."
Danny Salazar, another young player who reached the Indians' rotation last season, thinks a little differently than Bauer: He said he knows exactly who he looks up to.
"I always look at [Justin] Masterson," Salazar said. "He's older and I like the stuff he does and his workout ethics. I ask him all the time how to do things."
Young pitchers like Salazar and Bauer experienced their respective setbacks in previous years, but both players said they continue to seek advice and help from the Indians' veterans and other rookies.
Salazar said while learning from peers, he also gets a lot of assistance from the coaching staff -- particularly the efforts of pitching coach Mickey Callaway.
"Mickey is always there for you. If you need to work on something, he'll never say, 'No'," Salazar said. "If you tell him, 'Hey, Mickey, I want to work on this,' he'll say, 'OK, you wanna start right now?'"
Bauer said the coaching staff continues to be helpful whenever necessary. In times of difficulty, Callaway and the staff are especially willing to help make small adjustments.
"I was struggling gripping the ball out here a little bit. I've never had that problem before," Bauer said. "I went to the coaching staff and they had tons of suggestions about what to do and try."
"I found a couple things that are definitely going to help out with that," he added.
As for Salazar, he said he has high hopes for the season, but wants to keep his health a priority.
"After my [Tommy John] surgery, when I came back to play, I was definitely feeling it again," Salazar said. "But it's good now, I'm feeling at 100 percent."
The young Dominican-born pitcher said his health gives him the opportunity to deliver for the team and, more important, for the fans.
"This is going to be a great season," Salazar said. "We're going to give the best of us to get to the playoffs."
Morgan Chan is a mass communications graduate student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a Cactus League partnership between MLB.com and Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.