This year and beyond, Cubs think Scott Baker can still be a factor

This year and beyond, Cubs think Scott Baker can still be a factor
July 10, 2013, 9:15 pm
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The Cubs believe improved pitching depth will help prevent the on-field product from turning into Triple-A Iowa East.

Scott Baker is supposed to be one of the reinforcements, someone who should help delay the countdown toward 100 losses after another fire sale. The veteran right-hander could also emerge as a piece for 2014.

Baker is scheduled to fly from Arizona to Chicago and throw a bullpen session at Wrigley Field on Thursday. That will determine the next steps in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. He could soon begin a rehab assignment at Class-A Kane County, which might put him in the big-league rotation by late August.

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Baker, who will turn 32 in September, missed the entire 2012 season, but he still got $5.5 million guaranteed in a one-year deal. To that point, he had spent his entire career with the Minnesota Twins, going 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA while working almost exclusively as a starter.

The Cubs appreciate Baker’s serious, professional attitude, as well as the stuff that made him a key part of some contending teams in Minnesota. This front office is willing to do another deal with Baker.

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“It’s something that we’ve certainly talked about,” general manager Jed Hoyer said. “He’s a fantastic person and a really good teammate. (When) he had the setback in spring training, he was apologetic to us and we felt worse for him.

“Not to get ahead of ourselves – we’ll see how things go – but he’s certainly the kind of guy you like to have in the organization, for sure.”