CLEVELAND — Trevor Bauer moved a little closer to pitching in the postseason, throwing 40 pitches off the mound inside an empty Progressive Field on Saturday.
It was a positive step in the All-Star right-hander's recovery from a broken leg that has kept him out of the rotation for more than a month.
Bauer has been sidelined since Aug. 11 with a stress fracture in his right leg, which happened when he was struck by a line drive in Chicago. Earlier this week, he completed a bullpen session in Tampa and followed it with a workout that was closely monitored by team president Chris Antonetti, pitching coach Carl Williams and team trainers.
"Felt good," Bauer said afterward. "Mechanics were a little out of sequence, but I haven't really been on a mound a whole lot in a month and a half. I expect those will come back pretty quickly. Physically it felt good."
Bauer said it was difficult to replicate game conditions, but he did all he could to mimic competing against major league hitters in a loud ballpark.
"There's no adrenaline in a bullpen session," he said. "As much as you try to compete with yourself or trick yourself mentally or whatever, it's just not there. So hopefully I can face hitters next, get some people out here talking and yelling at some hitters, stuff like that, try to get the adrenaline up.
"That'd be nice."
The Indians think it would be nice if they could count on Bauer in October. The 27-year-old was having his best season and had moved into Cy Young consideration when he was nailed by a line drive hit by Chicago's Jose Abreu.
Bauer remains miffed about the course of his season. Now, though, his focus is getting back and helping anyway he can — whether it's starting or in relief.
There's not much time left in the regular season and Bauer doesn't know what the Indians have planned for him before the playoffs begin.
"I pitch when they tell me to pitch," he said. "I feel confident that I'll be able to compete and help us win in whatever role that is. I come into spring training ready to throw 5-6-7 innings. So, I'll make that point clear."
Indians manager Terry Francona said Bauer will throw his next bullpen session on Tuesday, and it's possible he'll do it with a batter at the plate — to help simulate game situations.
"I know Trev wanted to feel like it was Game 7 today," Francona said. "It's about impossible."