SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Trevor Bauer didn't mince words when asked what he had working in his start Tuesday against the Giants.
"Not a whole lot, to be honest," Bauer said. "I was kind of like, 'Well, everything kind of stinks today, so flip a coin, pick one and hope they don't hit it out of the park.' No, it was a little bit of a struggle control-wise today. I've had four outings now and I think this is probably the worst I've thrown the ball."
Still, the results were not terrible. The highly touted D-backs right-hander allowed two runs on six hits over three innings. Of his 53 pitches, 33 went for strikes.
A few of the six hits were hit hard, but there were a couple of grounders that went through the infield and a broken-bat bloop hit as well.
"What are you going to do?" Bauer said. "They hit one ball hard in three innings and ended up with six hits and two runs. I think I did a pretty job of disrupting their timing. Not really a whole lot to be displeased with other than being behind in the count a lot, which I haven't really done this spring."
Indeed, in 10 innings this spring, Bauer has fanned nine and walked just one. Command was a bit of an issue at times during his seven Minor League starts after he signed last summer. In 25 2/3 innings between Class A Visalia and Double-A Mobile, Bauer walked 12.
"I'm throwing a lot more strikes, and quality strikes at that, so overall I'm pretty pleased," Bauer said. "I haven't given up a whole lot of hard-hit balls. That being said, there are still plenty of areas I can improve on. I still can't figure out how to throw a curveball in the dirt when I want to, which is a little frustrating."
Despite his impressive spring, Bauer and his 3.60 ERA seem destined to start the season in the Minors with the D-backs rotation apparently set at Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders, Trevor Cahill and Josh Collmenter.
Whether or not he makes the team, his time at big league camp has paid off.
"I've learned a lot," Bauer said. "I've gotten to face some really high-quality hitters and I think I'm definitely a better pitcher now than I was four outings ago, so nothing wrong with that, right? I think I've actually thrown the ball better than I was hoping to."
Bauer said he made some very small mechanical changes this winter to try to improve his command, and he has been extremely pleased with the results.
One area of his game that has definitely improved is his work with the bat.
On Tuesday, he dropped down a nice sacrifice bunt in the second.
"Squared around, closed my eyes and hoped the ball hit my bat," Bauer joked. "I've been doing a lot of work on bunting in Spring Training given that I haven't really handled the bat since freshman year of high school."
The No. 3 overall pick in last year's Draft still has much to learn, it seems, including how the team likes to attack hitters.
"He's got to know the hitters and go through a scouting report, and we'll let him know how we want to work here, how we're going to pitch guys here, so it's not his way," catcher Miguel Montero said. "These are big leaguers; you have to figure out how to pitch them."
Bauer was slated to throw four innings Tuesday, but after having a pair of runners on base in each of his three innings, his pitch count got up too high for that.
"He's young, he's got a lot to learn, but he's got electric stuff," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "Every time he goes out there, it's a great experience for him. I know he wanted to go longer, but he wasn't that efficient with his pitches and we had other guys we wanted to throw."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.