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Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Injured RHP Baker on road back to Cubs

By Bruce Levine

Rehabbing right-handed pitcher Scott Baker will make an appearance at Wrigley Field on Thursday for a tuneup side session. Baker, who signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs in the fall of 2012, is recovering from elbow ligament replacement surgery. The former Minnesota Twins starter had surgery on the arm in April 2011 and missed the rest of the season. During a spring training outing in mid-March, Baker reinjured his elbow. He recently began pitching again.

The plan for Thursday is to have the Cubs' major league staff and medical team evaluate Baker before, during and after the side session. If all goes well, he could be cleared for a minor league assignment.

"He will throw a bullpen, and we will assess him from there," said Chicago general manager Jed Hoyer. “We think he is pretty close to going out on a rehab assignment. It will be hard to tell where he is at until he gets into some games. He was really frustrated about what happened in spring training. He has worked real hard, so he is probably real excited about getting it going.”

The Cubs are so impressed with Baker as a competitor and a person that if all goes well on the physical front, a new deal most likely will be offered to him for 2014.

"We have certainly talked about it," Hoyer said. “He is a fantastic person and a really good teammate. When he had a setback in spring training, he apologized to us when we felt worse for him. He is certainly the type of guy you want in your organization.”

Baker, 32, is 63-48 lifetime with a 4.15 ERA.