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Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Cubs shut down Scott Baker

By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs pitcher Scott Baker has been shut down with a sore right elbow, and third baseman Ian Stewart will start the season on the disabled list because of a strained left quad, manager Dale Sveum said Tuesday.

Baker, attempting to return from Tommy John surgery, had his throwing program suspended after undergoing an MRI on Monday on his elbow. He will visit with doctors this weekend to learn more about the extent of the injury and a timetable for his return.

"It's more disappointing for him for a guy that's worked that hard and did everything and really did nothing to warrant something like this," Sveum said. "Hopefully it's not a big deal and we'll continue. It's just a wait-and-see thing right now."

Said Baker: "Right now, I'm choosing to be optimistic and hope for the best."

Baker missed all of last season after having surgery in April. He pitched 1/3 of an inning on Sunday in his first Cactus League start, and woke up Monday with soreness.

"From talking to guys, it's fairly uncommon not to have any setbacks and thus far I haven't had any up until now," Baker said. "It is pretty common but at the same time, it's not fun."

Stewart has been hampered by a bad left quad since an intrasquad game early in spring training. His MRI on Monday showed fluid there.

"It's almost like it stopped healing," Stewart said Tuesday. "Maybe it's healing, but it doesn't feel like it. ... Just trying to run. Can't run."

Stewart played in a minor league game last week and said he "felt the muscle pull" on a couple of checked swings.

"There's still pain in there," he said.

Stewart, who signed a one-year, $2 million non-guaranteed contract in the offseason, missed all but 55 games last season after undergoing wrist surgery. His absence might create a platoon situation at third base.

Luis Valbuena will start there Opening Day but Brent Lillibridge will play third base as well, according to Sveum. The news also will alter the manager's roster plan for the start of the season.

"Basically, we have a spot open now," Sveum said.

Edwin Maysonet and Alberto Gonzalez are battling for that position, though Sveum didn't dismiss the idea of finding an infielder off the waiver wire.