Bauer faced live hitters Thursday for the first time in spring training. He is scheduled to throw two innings in the Dodgers’ second game of their Cactus League schedule. Roberts said the game will last just six or seven innings — teams this year can agree to shorten games to as a few as five innings in the first two weeks of spring training.
Bauer signed a three-year, $102-million contract with the Dodgers this month. The 30-year-old right-hander is projected to be the highest-paid player in the majors this season and again next year if he exercises his player option.
The UCLA product returned to Los Angeles as the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, but with a history of rubbing some people the wrong way on and off the internet. Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts, considered a clubhouse leader, shrugged off the latter part of Bauer’s reputation when he spoke with reporters Friday.
“He is who he is,” Betts said. “You know what you’re getting and so I don’t really worry about it. It doesn’t bother me. He goes out there and competes, he gets wins and those types of things. I don’t know what more you can ask for. You know what you’re getting. He’s got to be Trevor Bauer — you can’t try and turn him into someone else.”
Betts is scheduled to play in the Dodgers’ first game Sunday against the Oakland Athletics at Hohokam Stadium. Roberts said the game is scheduled for seven innings.
Left-hander Mike Kickham, a non-roster invite, is scheduled to start for Los Angeles. Right-hander Edwin Uceta, a 23-year-old prospect, will follow Kickham. Gavin Lux, Austin Barnes and AJ Pollock are among others expected to play.