In case you missed it (because you were doing something more interesting like watching football, gardening, or washing your hair), Scott Baker somehow managed to finagle a start out of the Cubs, and looked better than anyone (especially me) expected.
Baker was sharp in his first start as a Cub, pitching five shutout innings and allowing only two hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter.
Manager Dale Sveum could not promise whether Baker will get another start, saying they would “evaluate” the situation on the upcoming 11-game road trip.
Baker, who had elbow reconstruction surgery in April 2012 and had not pitched in the majors since 2011, called it a “special day for me and my family” after such a long, grueling rehab process.
He may not be back in 2014, which means the Cubs may have spent $5.5 million to rehab him for another team.
“Right now beggars can’t be choosers,” Baker said. “I was very thankful they gave me the opportunity to start. They didn’t have to do that, but they did.”
While Baker looked decent, let’s keep in mind that he was a) pitching against the lowly Brewers, and b) all fired up to make his first major league start since 2011. Sunday’s performance was certainly an improvement over watching Baker get lit up by minor league teams, but the Cubs will certainly need to see many more starts from Baker before any conclusions on his post-Tommy John skill can be drawn.
With Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson (ugh) set to return next season, Chris Rusin and Jake Arrieta figuring to be in the mix, and Jeff Samardzija probably returning (I think when push comes to shove, Samardzija will sign with the Cubs), is there any room in the rotation for Scott Baker? And, as Baker is a free agent after this season, what exactly did the Cubs give him $5.5 million for, anyway? I’d be happy to take way less than that to not pitch for the Cubs. I’ll start the bidding for my services at a lowly $700,000k. Any takers?
The Cubs are in Cincy tonight to take on the hated Reds. First pitch at 6:10 pm CT.