MESA, Ariz. – Scott Baker isn’t giving up on this season.
When the Cubs gave Baker a one-year, $5.5 million pillow contract, team president Theo Epstein cited the 95 percent success rate for pitchers coming off Tommy John surgery.
After a red-flagged MRI showed something with his right elbow, Baker had to wonder if he had become the total outlier, part of that 5 percent sample, before it was determined to be a muscle strain and not a structural issue.
“Of course,” Baker said Monday at HoHoKam Stadium. “You can tell yourself as much as you want to that’s not the case. You can believe whatever you want. But when Dr. (Stephen Gryzlo) and then Dr. (David Altchek tell you) that’s not the case, it makes you feel pretty good, for sure.”
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Baker was relieved when he found out that he won’t throw a baseball again for another month. It erases the timeline that would have had him joining the rotation in mid-April – the one-year mark since his surgical procedure – but also keeps alive the possibility that he could be a factor sometime this season.
Baker has a track record (63-48, 4.15 ERA) as a mid-rotation piece, though he didn’t throw a pitch for the Minnesota Twins in 2012.
“It is disappointing,” Baker said. “I felt like I’ve sat out enough. I don’t want to sit out any more than I’ve already had to. So to sit here and say it’s going to be at least a month more than originally anticipated, it’s tough. But I’ve come this far. I’m not about to give up or give in.”