D-backs call out Bauer? NOT news to Cole

Somehow, Gerrit Cole AND Trevor Bauer morphed into Cole versus Bauer.

There’s a great rivalry brewing. And we don’t really yet know the full story of why. Sometime in the not-too-distant future, the Pirates’ and the D-backs’ right-handers will hook up on a Major League mound, and it will be very personal.

They were UCLA’s No. 1 and No. 1A aces, and while they were developing into top picks in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, they were also developing a dislike for each other. It became so bitter that as they both went through their first Major League Spring Trainings earlier this year, they flatly declined to comment on each other’s situations.

I don’t know the roots of the dispute — but I imagine somewhere Cole was nodding knowingly last week when rumors surfaced that the D-backs were already shopping Bauer because his attitude during his brief big-league baptismal last summer had been a turn-off.

The D-backs have since denied those reports — but Arizona club president Derrick Hall’s very reasons for NOT shopping Bauer are revealing.

“He realizes he made mistakes, and I applaud that. That shows a tremendous amount of maturity on his part,” Hall said.

Mistakes? What kind of mistakes could a 21-year-old possibly have made to invite such admonishment? How did he find the time, in the three mere weeks he spent with the D-backs?

There are clues that after torching the Minors, Bauer showed up with a bit of conceit. He was stubbornly uncoachable, and even had fits with veteran Arizona catcher Miguel Montero. It was bad enough that Bauer reportedly had to explain himself and apologize to his Arizona teammates to be welcomed back in their graces.

The Bucs and the D-backs only hope this can be a continuing story for, oh, 15 years. When Cole became Pittsburgh’s and the nation’s No. 1 pick in the 2011 Draft and Bauer followed at No. 3, the Bruins matched Bob Horner and Hubie Brooks of the 1978 Arizona State Sun Devils as the highest-picked collegiate teammates in the same Draft.

Their paths diverged interestingly in 2012, with Bauer reaching the Majors just as Cole got to Double-A. That was the middle step in Cole’s gradual progression, Single-A through Triple-A, with a cumulative 9-7 record and 2.80 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 132 innings. Bauer went 12-2 between Double-A and Triple-A, with a 2.42 ERA and 157 punchouts in 130 1/3 innings.

Stay tuned.

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