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All Signs Pointing To A Trevor Bauer Debut On Thursday

There was yet another thing to fuel the fire for the Free Trevor Bauer movement. On Sunday, he was pulled from his start after two and two-thirds innings and 50 pitches. That combined with Joe Saunders being placed on the disabled list and, as reported by Jack Magruder, team sources said that Bauer would indeed be making his major league debut on Thursday in Atlanta.

Bauer, 11-1 with a 2.23 ERA in 16 starts, leads minor league pitchers with 116 strikeouts after getting five Sunday. He has little left to prove at that level, but he needed something to happen for him to get a shot at the majors. Saunders' shoulder stiffness was just the trick.

The team could have had Ian Kennedy make the start on Thursday on regular rest, as the team has on off day on Monday, but manager Kirk Gibson said that Kennedy would start on Sunday against the Brewers.

Bauer's stint likely will be short. Saunders is not expected to need to miss much time.

"There are certain things he does great. We all know he has great stuff. His last two starts, he has had 100 pitches in five innings. If I was Trevor, I can tell you, when I was a big leaguer, I would argue that I would get better with better competition. I think that's how he probably thinks. I don't know that we know that answer," said manager Kirk Gibson.

Reno manager Brett Butler said, "Could he go up and win a ballgame in the big leagues? There is no doubt in my mind he could. He's got big-league stuff right now. The one thing that he needs to be doing is he needs to manage the game a little bit better."

If he is dominant at the major league level, it could force the D-backs' hand. Saunders has been mentioned in trade rumors, but Kevin Youkilis was traded to the White Sox. He still could be a good candidate to be traded.

The likely scenario? Bauer makes a start or two and, regardless of results, will go back down to work on things.

But until then, it is time for the hype to start. Trevor Bauer will be free!