CLEVELAND — Trevor Bauer is no stranger to social media controversy, but the All-Star right-hander’s latest online incident is an alarming one.
After a 9-1 loss to the White Sox in one of the worst outings of Bauer’s career, he posted on Twitter that he had received death threats and other disturbing messages on Instagram.
One of the messages he shared, read, “I really hope you and your family die in a car crash.”
Above that message and others, Bauer posted, “Stop online harassment, bullying, and hate speech.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Bauer posted a video on Twitter with a strong message: “I’m an adult. I can handle it. It’s not going to affect me, right? But what if it’s a 14-year kid at school and people are saying that stuff to him after he lost the freshman baseball game or after he just showed up to school wearing something that the other kids didn’t think was cool. I went through that in high school. Everyone made fun of me for what I chose to wear, like how I warmed up for baseball or what I talked about or the fact that I was in chess club or like robotics and stuff like that.
“I got bullied and harassed non-stop and now it continues on social media and it makes it really hard for kids to develop self-confidence, for kids to develop any sort of confidence at all, to develop a positive self-image, to develop a peer group, to live a productive life.
“It’s one of the reasons that suicide rates are so high and there’s school shootings and all this different stuff because this action is common. Like I said, it happens to me all the time. I just decided to post it. I don’t post 99 percent of it, but it needs to be brought to light.”
Manager Terry Francona was asked if the organization had addressed the situation before offering support for Bauer’s anti-bullying message.
“I know they take it seriously. It’s not like we just brushed it off,” he said. “I don’t know what he’s been doing (on Twitter), but any time somebody wants to turn something that’s a potential negative into a positive is great. That’s a good thing regardless of what it is. Whether it’s on the baseball field or in your life or whatever. That’s never a bad thing.”
Francona doesn’t participate in social media, but he has an opinion on its use.
“I think if it’s used correctly, it’s probably a really good platform. I think it can also be a distraction,” Francona said. “It’s opened up a whole new platform for people to share opinions. And the majority of them, to me, seem like the ones that want to vent. The people that care enough to write aren’t going to write, ‘Man, what a nice guy. Got a good sweater,’ whatever. No, it’s ‘He’s an a- hole.’”
The manager says he still receives hate mail.
“Like I said, when people are mad, those are the people that tend to reach out or take the time to tell you what they think,” Francona said. “Not too many people take the time to go, ‘Man, in the seventh inning of that game, that was an unbelievably good managerial move.’ They tend to go the other way.”
After positive results in three starts with the Indians, right-hander Jefry Rodriguez has earned a spot in the rotation while Mike Clevinger and Corey Kluber recover from injuries.
“He’s been a pleasure. He’s a wonderful kid,” Francona said of Rodriguez, who has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his three outings. “He’s open-minded to listening to (pitching coach) Carl (Willis) and those guys. There’s a lot to work with.
“He’s going to have ups and down. He doesn’t command the baseball like most guys when they’re at that stage. But, boy, if he can tighten up some of these things, you start to get excited.”
Rodriguez, 25, was acquired along with two others in an offseason trade with the Nationals for catcher Yan Gomes.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis entered Wednesday 5-for-15 over his last four games and 4-for-9 over his last two.
“I think I figured out some stuff (Monday) morning that hopefully will kind of get me going in the right direction,” said Kipnis, who had two of Cleveland’s five hits in a 2-0 loss to Chicago on Tuesday.
Kipnis, who entered Wednesday batting .209 with no home runs, five doubles and four RBIs over 18 games, is predicting better things for himself and the Indians’ league-low offense.
“This team’s pretty good,” Kipnis said. “The fact that we have the record we do and we don’t really have too many people playing that well I think shows how good we can be. So we know as soon as we all figure it out or get it really going, there’s going to be a lot of wins coming our way.”
- The Indians and Marlins entered Wednesday without a triple, while Central Division rival Kansas City led the majors with 21.
- Carlos Santana entered Wednesday leading the majors in average exit velocity of batted balls (94.9 mph) — minimum 90 batted balls — ahead of Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich (94.3). He ranked second in the majors in hard-hit contact percentage (55.4) behind Chicago’s Jose Abreu (56.9).