6/17/2014 7:57 P.M. ET
Bauer doesn't need his best stuff to succeed
By Alec Shirkey / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- By the time Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer walked back to the dugout in the seventh inning of Monday night's start, he had thrown a career-high 119 pitches.
If it were up to him, he would have stayed in even longer.
"I can go 130, 40, 50, 200 [pitches], whatever. I train myself to be able to do that," Bauer said after holding the Angels to three runs over 6 2/3 innings. "I did that all college. Obviously that was seven days' [rest], but I'm very used to throwing that many pitches and maintain my stuff deep into games."
Bauer, just 23 years old, has quietly been putting together the best season of his fledgling career. He is 2-3 with a 4.20 ERA through seven starts, though he has limited his opposition to three runs or fewer in all but two of those outings.
The numbers may not jump off the page just yet, but Butler's mechanics and his ability to handle traffic on the basepaths have left Cleveland's coaching staff excited about his future.
"It's almost like, 'OK, you're a Major Leaguer now,' because you can go out there when your stuff might not be the best and you can still pile through and give us six, seven good innings," pitching coach Mickey Callaway said on Monday. "He did it his last start, he did it tonight. When you get your guys doing that, it kind of makes them feel like they belong, and it makes us feel like they belong. Now, when he's got his best stuff, he's going to even dominate more.
"That's probably one of the things [Corey] Kluber felt last year."
Not only was Bauer able to hold his own against a talented Angels lineup that features Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, but he did it when he was not on his A-game. The location was lacking at times -- only 60.5 percent of his pitches were strikes and he issued four walks -- but he was still able to consistently hit 94 and 95 mph with his fastball during his final frame of work.
"It felt good to prove I could still handle it," Bauer said.
The Indians will continue to closely monitor the right-hander's workload. His latest performance, however, was another reminder of what the training-intensive Bauer can accomplish on the mound.
"There's some things I worry about that with Trevor because he's not the biggest guy in the world," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "But after you've been around him and seen how much he's thrown, he's thrown more than most guys do getting to this point. His arm is conditioned to do that. That's not the norm anymore."
Brantley out due to concussion-like symptoms
CLEVELAND -- Outfielder Michael Brantley was slated to hit third for the Tribe on Tuesday night, but he wound up a late scratch after experiencing concussion-like symptoms during his pregame routine.
"He came in today feeling really good and started to ramp up his daily progression and didn't feel perfect," Indians manager Terry Francona said Tuesday afternoon. "So we immediately took him out of the lineup.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis was moved up to third in the batting order, with Carlos Santana hitting cleanup.
Brantley was taken out of Monday night's series opener with the Angels after colliding with shortstop John McDonald on a hard slide into second base. The play occurred in the third inning, but Brantley stayed in until Mike Aviles replaced him in left field in the fifth.
Francona had called the move precautionary and said Brantley had passed all of his preliminary concussion tests after the game. However, the team will continue to play it safe with one of its most valuable hitters.
"He's going to go over for further testing, get some imaging [done], things like that," Francona said. "You have a head injury and you play and something happens, you're talking about something pretty serious. We're going to err on the side of caution."
Brantley, batting .323 with 11 home runs and 46 RBIs, has an eight-game hitting streak. He was named the American League Player of the Week on Monday for the first time in his career, hitting .538 over a seven-game span, and has garnered the seventh-most fan votes for the All-Star Game among AL outfielders.
Quote to note
"I remember Omar from when he played for the Leones del Caracas. He was probably 18 and he couldn't hit the ball out of the infield. But you could see a kid that, it's like he didn't need a glove at shortstop. And then you look up a couple years later and it's Omar Vizquel. Gold Glove. Good hitter. So it's kind of interesting to watch him grow into who he [became]. Because he was so young, playing in a very advanced league at the time. It was pretty incredible." -- Francona on former Tribe shortstop Omar Vizquel, who will be inducted into the Indians Hall of Fame on Saturday.
• Carlos Santana is hitting .333 with a .435 on-base percentage and three home runs in 11 games since returning from the concussion disabled list on June 6. He had posted a .159 average with just 13 extra-base hits through his first 50 games of the season.
"The best players, they'll have a slow start," Santana said. "I knew I'd be OK, and now I feel great."
• On Tuesday, the Indians named Class A Lake County left-hander Luis Lugo the organization's Minor League Player of the Week for June 9-15. Lugo allowed two runs across 11 innings in his two starts, registering 17 strikeouts while walking none. He is 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA since May 27.
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.