The Cubs had hoped Scott Baker would be able to audition in September, showing how he might fit into their 2014 rotation. But those plans have apparently been scrapped as he continues his long road back from Tommy John surgery.
Baker made his sixth rehab start on Monday with Class-A Kane County, throwing 80 pitches and allowing two runs in five innings, another small step after missing the entire 2012 season.
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“If anything right now – if we do activate him up here – it would just be as a long guy,” manager Dale Sveum said at Wrigley Field. “There’s no plans of doing any starting, unless there comes a point where we feel somebody needs a five-day break or something. Right now, that’s all wait-and-see."
Baker is guaranteed $5.5 million from this one-year deal and both sides had signaled a willingness to do another contract, though all that depends on his health and how his right elbow responds.
“He knows his body better than anybody,” Kane County manager Mark Johnson said. “He kind of pushes the ball in there a little bit (at the start) and then all of a sudden he starts letting it go. I think that’s just part of the process of recovering from his surgery and what he had to deal with. It’ll come. Part of the process is just understanding what you’ve got to do to perform at the level he needs to.”
[RELATED: Cubs believe Baker can be a factor]
There are indications the Cubs will call up catcher J.C. Boscan and three or four pitchers this month. Baker – who had been a solid mid-rotation piece for some good Minnesota Twins teams earlier in his career – has posted a 6.35 ERA and given up 22 hits and eight walks through 22.2 innings in the minors.
“We’re still trying to get to the point where (we can) evaluate what we want to do going forward with him,” Sveum said.