Right-hander Trevor Bauer made one of the more anticipated major-league debuts of the season Thursday night, and he looked pretty green. Selected third overall in the 2011 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Bauer came into 2012 rated the No. 9 prospect in the league by Baseball America. Fans have been calling for his promotion pretty much ever since Bauer left UCLA. His first results were disappointing, though; Bauer allowed two three runs over four innings, his outing shortened by a groin injury.
Bauer's future starts no doubt will be more memorable — except for one thing. After Bauer poured over a 93 mph fastball for a strike on his first pitch to Atlanta's Michael Bourn, catcher Miguel Montero flipped the ball back to Bauer — like any catcher would. Before he threw another pitch, Bauer was instructed by Arizona's bench to toss the ball out of play so it could be saved as a memento. Bauer complied, tossing the ball into Atlanta's dugout.
Who do you work for, Bauer?!
Bauer's mind certainly was on the next pitch. Thankfully for his souvenir shelf, Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez threw the ball over to the Arizona dugout after a wave by D-backs skipper Kirk Gibson, who grinned and showed public amusement for perhaps the first time in his life.
Usually, balls are taken out of play for a milestone hit or a strikeout. Nowadays, we save everything just in case of greatness. It's why few baseball cards printed after the 1970s will be worth much. It's likely that nobody thought to save the first pitch thrown by Roger Clemens, Dwight Gooden or even Bruce Chen, but they did it for Stephen Strasburg in 2010. Bauer might not quite be at Strasburg's skill level, but he's close to it. If nothing else, Bauer's pregame workout routine already is worth the price of admission.
Bauer laughed about his wayward throw after the game and said he hopes to make his next start, scheduled for Tuesday at Chase Field.