COL@PIT: Outman sits down heart of Bucs' order

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Josh Outman had a feeling he might be traded when a member of the Rockies' training staff gave him a call out of the blue in December. The same thing happened two winters earlier with the A's, and he was dealt away one day later.

"I got a phone call from [Colorado's] assistant trainer,'" Outman said. "He was just saying, 'Hey, checking in.' It was kind of awkward. I was like, 'I'm getting traded here pretty soon.'"

Sure enough, Outman was sent packing one day later, in the Dec. 18 swap that put him in an Indians uniform and sent outfielder Drew Stubbs to the Rockies. This spring, the left-handed reliever heads into camp as a virtual lock for a spot in Cleveland's bullpen.

Outman is no stranger to trades. He was sent to Oakland by the Phillies in 2008 as a Minor Leaguer, and the A's shipped him to Colorado before the 2012 season. This time, Outman said he is looking forward to the change of scenery, especially because the Indians are coming off a postseason appearance and poised to again contend in the American League Central.

Outman said he's looking forward to pitching for manager Terry Francona and being reunited with veteran Jason Giambi, who was a teammate in both Oakland and Colorado.

"I saw the run that they had at the end of the season last year," Outman said. "It's a pretty young team that played really good baseball down the stretch. Obviously, with a manager like Tito, you have your leadership. And then with a guy like Giambi in the clubhouse, a leader who has been around the game for so long, you have all the pieces to be a really, really competitive team."

Last season, Outman worked exclusively as a reliever for the first time, turning in a 4.33 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 61 appearances (54 innings). The lefty limited left-handed batters to a .198 average (.539 OPS), which was only slightly above his career showing (.189 average and .523 OPS).

Francona said there is still plenty of time to determine Outman's role in the 'pen.

"He's got some velocity and a breaking ball," Francona said. "The more he commands, the better he's going to be. I don't think he has to be [just a lefty specialist]. Again, some of that depends on how they're throwing, how other guys are throwing, necessity of innings, and things like that."

Bauer shows Francona change for the better

Top Prospects: Trevor Bauer, RHP, Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Trevor Bauer has only thrown one bullpen session this spring, but Indians manager Terry Francona is already raving about the progress made by the pitching prospect.

"Night and day," Francona said. "We're thrilled. We're not evaluating, but he looked different. I think we were really excited. Again, he hasn't even faced a hitter yet, but he looked like a different pitcher, and that was nice to see."

Bauer -- competing against Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin and Shaun Marcum for the fifth spot in the rotation -- underwent drastic mechanical changes to his delivery last season. The 23-year-old right-hander saw a dropoff in his statistics in both the Minors and Majors last year, but Cleveland has tried to keep the bigger picture in mind.

Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway noted that the biggest change made by Bauer has been raising his lead arm during his motion. Callaway said the goal is to create better leverage, in order to pound the lower half of the strike zone.

"Really, the main thing for him was to get back to what he was doing before," Callaway said, "and getting in a good launch position with his lead arm. He's getting it up and staying tall and getting that lead arm up so he can drive the ball down. It's so he doesn't spin off and do all those things that a low lead arm leads to."

Callaway said Bauer strayed from that approach while trying to decrease the amount of stress on his back leg, following a groin injury that flared during the 2012 season with the D-backs. Acquired from Arizona in a trade prior to last season, Bauer had a 4.15 ERA with 106 strikeouts and 73 walks in 121 1/3 innings at Triple-A. Between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012, Bauer had a 2.42 ERA with 157 strikeouts and 61 walks in 130 1/3 innings.

In parts of two big league seasons with Arizona and Cleveland, Bauer has gone 2-4 with a 5.67 ERA, 28 strikeouts and 29 walks in eight appearances (33 1/3 innings).

Indians to hold spring FanFest March 22

Indians hope to return to postseason in 2014

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians fans in Northeast Ohio braved the cold and snow to make last month's Tribe Fest at Progressive Field a success. Cleveland's fans in Arizona will not have to worry about weather conditions for the next event.

The Indians and Reds, who train at neighboring facilities and share a stadium during Spring Training, will hold their annual spring FanFest on March 22 at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz.. The event will run from 5:30-8 p.m. MT, following Cleveland's Cactus League tilt against the Rockies.

Fans of both teams will be able to receive autographs and interact with players and coaches from the Indians and Reds. Other features will include a chance to play catch in the outfield, a batting practice experience, on-field contests and giveaways, ballpark tours, on-field and dugout photographs and kids activities, including running the bases and face painters.

FanFest tickets for adults cost $40, but Goodyear Ballpark Spring Training season-ticket holders, along with active and retired military personnel, will be charged $30 per ticket. Tickets for kids between the ages of 3-12 cost $10, but kids who are 2-years-old or younger can enter for free. Proceeds from the event benefit the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce in Goodyear.

For more information on the event or ways to purchase tickets, visit Indians.com/spring.

Quote to note

"We told those guys, specifically, yesterday, 'When you see us walk behind the mound, we're not evaluating. You're getting your legs under you, you're building your arm strength and you're working on your mechanics.'"
--Francona, on early bullpen sessions for pitchers

Smoke signals

• Francona was saddened to learn that former Major League manager and scout Jim Fregosi passed away on Friday morning. Francona managed the Phillies from 1997-00, following Fregosi in that role.

"Anybody that's been in a room with him, you can't help but hear him," Francona said with a smile. "He just carried on conversations and was just so full of life. It's not a very good way to start the morning when you come in and see that. ... I know when I got to Philly, the veterans that were there loved him."

• Francona said that he has been informed that the new instant-replay rules will be tested out in a handful of Cactus League games this season. Francona added that he and members of his staff are scheduled to attend a seminar on the new system on Feb. 25.

• The Indians went to an arbitration hearing with right-hander Josh Tomlin on Friday, but the result is not expected to be known until Saturday. Tomlin, who spent most of last season returning from Tommy John surgery on his elbow, is seeking $975,000. Cleveland has offered $800,000.

• Indians first baseman Nick Swisher was among the new faces spotted in camp on Friday. Position players are not required to report until Saturday and will undergo physicals on Sunday, leading up to Monday's first full-squad workout.

• Francona said that Minor League reliever Bryan Price, who tweaked his right hamstring during Thursday's workout, was held out of Friday's practice as a precaution. Price might be cleared to rejoin workouts as early as Saturday.