Scott Baker Makes His First Rehab Start and Other Bullets

kane county cougarsThe All-Star break has arrived, which means the Home Run Derby, the All-Star Game, and an understood moratorium on announcing transactions. I wouldn’t necessarily expect the rumors to take a hiatus over the next few days, though.

  • Scott Baker made his first rehab start yesterday at Kane County, throwing 56 pitches. He gave up four runs in the first, but – statistically – cruised after that. Really, you don’t much care about the results in an outing like this so much as how he feels after throwing against hitters. ”Right now for him, it’s more about getting the work in and getting comfortable,” Sveum said, per Cubs.com. “Today was a big hump to pitch against hitters and get in a real game and the whole atmosphere. Hopefully, we see a gradual pickup in the velocity and all that.” The other things you care about, of course, are the velocity on the fastball, the command, and the movement on the breaking pitches (assuming he’s able to throw them yet). Sveum’s comment makes me wonder if the velocity wasn’t quite where the Cubs hoped it would be, but BN’er Rooster, who was at the game, says Baker was throwing between 89 and 92 mph. To me, that’s just fine for a first rehab start (it would be like a first Spring Training start). Besides, Baker is a 91/92 mph fastball guy for his career anyway.
  • Cubs infield prospect Arismendy Alcantara hit a bomb of a homer yesterday at the Futures Game, and got a lot of love. Luke ranked Alcantara as the 5th best prospect in the Cubs’ system before the game yesterday.
  • Travis Wood finished out the first half without a quality start last night, but his 17 are still the most in baseball. He gets a lot of love from his teammates over at CSN.
  • New Cubs outfielder Cole Gillespie is happy to be reunited with his former college teammate, Darwin Barney.
  • Speaking of Barney, an interesting side note from Bruce Miles on Saturday’s game: “We had an interesting scoring change in last night’s game. The Cubs’ Darwin Barney reached base on apparent catcher’s interference in the second inning, when his bat struck the glove of Cardinals catcher Tony Cruz. Barney hit the ball to third base and eventually made it safely to first base after at first telling the umpire his bat made contact with the catcher’s glove. The initial ruling was catcher’s interference, Cruz being charged with an error but Barney not getting charged with an at-bat. However, after the game, the official scorer was informed that Barney made it to first safely, and thus, a hit was awarded.” That, combined with last night’s big game, gives Barney five hits in his last eight at bats, and has helped him raise his OPS by 28 points in the last two days.
  • 15 years of ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ by folks other than Harry Caray have been a mixed bag, but this video package is still pretty fun.
  • SportsCenter had a package on loving the long ball, thanks to today being the Home Run Derby, and I couldn’t help but notice that, despite it featuring dozens of famous homers, none of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa appeared. Right decision? Wrong decision?

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

88 responses to “Scott Baker Makes His First Rehab Start and Other Bullets”

  1. DReese

    Right decision.

    1. MichiganGoat

      Wrong Decision – the long ball facination is because of these guys and ESPN milked that cow Tebow-style. The revisionist aspect of the whole HR/Roid era is really annoying. You can’t just wipe it from the collective history of baseball, but that appears to be exactly with the HOF Writers and ESPN are trying to do. What… Who… We didn’t see anything.

      PEDs were ignored purposefully by MLB and NOW they wan’t to act like they never happened. Its time for MLB (especially once DarthHater throw Emperor Selig down a shaft) to acknowledge PED and their impact on a then struggling game- and come up with a way handle the Macs, Bonds, and Sosas in the HOF. This sweeping everything under the rug is just a horrible decision.

      I hope in the next few years Sosa, Bonds, and other step up and explain what really went on during that era and show how the MLB did nothing and actively ignored what everyone knew.

      1. DarthHater

        The talking goat is himself a science experiment, and hence in favor of all sorts of technological enhancements.

        1. Cheese Chad

          Right decision. Hypocrecy is often replaced by admitting a mistake. Baseball and ESPN could very well have changed their minds without being hypocritical.

          1. Wilbur

            Well said …

      2. Cheese Chad

        Remember MLB tried to have a drug policy in the 90s but couldn’t produce anything because of the players union. It took a congress push to get anything done.

      3. DReese

        I get what you are saying. Baseball has a looooong history and it goes through eras, some good some bad. I think the steroid era was a bad era. Yes, some say that it saved the sport but now that is far enough in the rear view mirror we can all see that what those players did was wrong and cheating.

        I do not think that the steroid era should be swept under the rug but I do not think that certain players of that time should be awarded for what they did without some sort of asterisk.

        As of not I hope the MLB is coming up with a way to make both sides happy but right now they don’t have a plan so I am OK with what they are doing now. But I hope it changes in the future, because you are right, it is part of history and we learn from history.

      4. Mick

        The Big-4 is now the Big-5, whoa Alcantara crushed that pitch. If you didn’t watch that Futures game, find it, watch it. Amazing some of the prospects playing in that game. Syndergaard and Taijuan Walker are BEASTS, Xander Bogaerts looks like he could be an MLB All-Star right now, and there’s some other sweeting kids like Yelich, Joc Pederson, and Henry Urrutia (Orioles). You’ll also see Anthony Ranaudo get rocked, please Cubs don’t trade for him. My sleeper from the game is Matt Davidson because he looks so unassuming but it’s apparent the guy can hit and field. I’m not sure if the DBacks are still in the running but if they are, I’d much rather Davidson or Olt.

        1. Mick

          sweeting = sweet swinging

          ..and I didn’t mean to post this as a reply.

        2. On The Farm

          Really jealous of the Mets future starting rotation: Harvey-Wheeler-Syndergaard.

          1. Mick

            That’s exactly what the Cubs are still missing which is top of the rotation pitching prospects. I love our positional prospects but our future rotation is nothing compared to the Mets, Pirates, Rays, etc.

          2. X the Cubs Fan

            They’re probably jealous of our future lineup.

            1. On The Farm

              The only difference between our big 4/5 and their 3 pitchers is that they have 2 in the MLB and Syndergaard is close, we have 2 in AA, 1 in A, and the other in A-.

              1. X the Cubs Fan

                Castro and Rizzo

  2. Spriggs

    No Sosa, Mac, or Bonds, — probably because they were never Yankees or Red Sox.

  3. Tremendous Slouch

    Alcantara had a mixed bag at the plate yesterday to say the least, but the guy just “looks” like he’s going to be a factor… excited to see how quickly he can scale the rest of the ladder… despite Barney’s last couple of games, I’ve had about enough at this point.

    BTW… wasn’t Double AA (trying it out) a Hendry guy? Reason I ask is, while Theo and team have done a nice job building up the talent, I think they were getting a bit too much credit from Big Red and Company yesterday… While I’m by no means defending Hendry, we tend to forget that at least a few of these guys (Baez, Alcantara, well ok that might be about it…) were to his credit.

    1. Jono

      I wonder if Alcantara was a 2011 pick.

      1. On The Farm

        He is from the DR so he would have been a IFA

    2. On The Farm

      Hendry had quite a bit of success with international signings. While I usually hammer on him for not drafting well (I realize he had spending restrictions from ownership in the draft), but looking at the guys he found: Marmol was a freak in 2008, Soto won a ROY, Castro is a building block, Alacantra looks to be a great future prospect. And those are just the recent signings, I am sure you could look back and find a few more guys, but those four off the top of my head are a pretty good group.

      1. AB

        Soto was drafted, he’s form Puerto Rico.

        1. On The Farm

          Ah well thank you for the correction

      2. JulioZuleta

        Also, to be fair, Marmol was signed as a catcher. If I was being hard on them, I’d say that Hendry recognized Marmol as a catching talent, which he wasn’t, and got lucky that he became a pitcher.

        1. JulioZuleta

          At one time, Soto, Marmol and Randy Wells were all catchers on the same team.

    3. X the Cubs Fan

      Vogelbach, Sczur, Alberto Cabrera, Samardzija, Starlin Castro, James Russell, Andrew Cashner, Junior Lake, etc

    4. Jim L.

      Wouldn’t Double AA be Arismendy Alcantara Arismendy Alcantara?

      1. JM

        I noticed the double double, but didn’t come up with that one. Kudos!

  4. pj

    It seems that the plate ump made a mistake on the catcher’s interference. He should have allowed the play to continue instead of stepping out and awarding Barney first base.

    If the third baseman had overthrown first base and Barney took second, Sveum would have had the option of declining the interference call.

    Rule 6.08 http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/official_rules/batter_6.jsp

  5. Ian Afterbirth

    Right decision.

  6. ETS

    Hey bret, I’m just curious if this time of year you start to see alot more web traffic or if we are still too far away from the 31st for that to pick up. I ask because I find myself on your site (and others) get closer and closer to (but not this far yet!)
    jackhammerf5.gif

  7. Believe in 2015

    Barry bonds and mark McGuire both were shown on the highlights at #10

  8. Ivy Walls

    Okay Brett and others,

    56 seconds into the Harry Tribute video, I am front and center singing along with my brother some 22 years ago, I had access to front row tics on the Cubs dugout, through corp entertainment which allowed me to go to 20-25 games a year showing off to clients etc…

    It was a treat seeing it on TV and family and friends were really tickled by the moment.

    1. JulioZuleta

      That’s pretty awesome. My one Wrigley-TV appearance involved me dropping a Matt Murton HR ball while sitting in the front row of the bleachers. Tried to one hand it, didn’t work.

      1. Kenster

        Speaking of Matt Murton can anyone pull up his Japan #s? Heard he’s been raking over there. I thought he was a very good hitter

  9. cub4life

    This is good to hear about Baker, no we need to see how he feels today so he can make another start at the end of the week……heres for hoping

  10. Ivy Walls

    As for more pertinent and current thoughts, Baker’s start was a big step, 3 days from now another to see how he feels, the start in the normal rotation is the next step. Could he be pitching in Wrigley in August, well that would be grand esp with Garza competing somewhere else.

  11. Oswego chris

    I like what Goat said…what really needs to be done is try to lift away the cloud frm that era so to speak…I think(Emperor Budpatine would never do this) MLB should offer these guys a forum to come clean…no pun intended…and to talk about themselves…no naming of other guys…just to clear(another Bonds’ pun) things up….

    Example- if Palmeiro were to come out and explain the years he used, why, etc….fans may not all forget, but would forgive…and you would probably just be left with some of the most egregious guys remaining quiet..

    1. MichiganGoat

      The reason MLB doesn’t want these players speaking out is because at some point it will be mentioned that the MLB actively chose to ignore what was happening. MLB greatly benefited from PED use and the Emperor loved the increase of the MLB brand. What is happening now is professional shunning, MLB and the HOF are shunning these players from existence and the players can’t speak because they are hoping in the time baseball will unshun them and welcome back into the fold. I hope at some point one of these players decides to say “FUDGE IT I’m going public” and shares everything, but the negative backlash from this would be epic. MLB, the Union, the Writers are okay with just forgetting these players.

      It would be a great next book for you Chris :)

      1. MichiganGoat

        I’m just so sick of the double standard and revisionist nature of the whole PED era… MLB knew exactly what was going on and they chose to ignore it and ride the success all those home runs brought the game. In fact watch Sosa/Mac chase and beat Maris was great television and everybody was excited that it was happening. Although everyone knew or at least highly suspected something funny… it was great for baseball and MLB embraced it fully.

        Now we look at this as some medieval horror full of evil horrible people.

        Baseball has handled this poorly from the second they noticed it.

        1. ssckelley

          Goat, I could not agree with you more. Baseball was looking for a way to bring the fans back after canceling the World Series due to labor issues and these players that juiced created an avenue for that to happen. Sosa and McGuire chasing Maris got everyone talking about baseball and then Bonds breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record. Everybody knew what was going on and it took the government to step in to force MLB to do anything about it.

          1. Eternal Pessimist

            You both seem interested only in 1/2 of the story and 1/2 of the blame. The players knew EXACTLY what they were doing, they knew they were cheating, and I would say, they even knew that enhancing their abilities w/ drugs would make some other “non-cheat” suffer by comparison (since they were propping up their performance artificially).

            Some of those honest players didn’t get the contracts they might have. Go ahead, blame MLB, the players union, the agents. But lets not whitewash the player involvement as well.

            1. wvcubsfan

              At that point in time PED’s weren’t against the rules of BASEBALL. Yes they were banned drugs by the USA, and as such technically against the rules of baseball, but there was no program in place to test against it. Furthermore, there have been numerous things that were either against the rules or against the “spirit” of the rules that have been over looked throughout the history of the game. None of those players have had or ever will have the same stigma attached to them as the “steroid era players” most of whom never tested positive or had any credible evidence brought against them to prove use, but they are nonetheless tainted for supposed involvement.

              1. mjhurdle

                “At that point in time PED’s weren’t against the rules of BASEBALL. Yes they were banned drugs by the USA, and as such technically against the rules of baseball…”

                isn’t that contradictory?
                just because there were no testing processes in place does not change the fact that they were banned, and players that took them were cheating.
                Eternal Pessimist’s point is valid.
                There is plenty of blame for the owners and commissioner for the PED era, but there is an equal amount of blame on the players that knowingly cheated, even if the only reason they did it was because they thought they would never get caught.

                1. wvcubsfan

                  I’m not sure how that quoted excerpt would be contradictory. They weren’t specifically banned by baseball, but were illegal under the general rule that all illegal drugs (as determined by the US) were against the rules.

                  This was brought up below (I hadn’t read all of the comments when I made this post) that many of the drugs on the new banned list are legal with prescription, and are still legal in the home countries of many of the players. Also, that the possession and sale of drugs are illegal not the use.

                  I’ll grant you that the individual players deserve some portion of the blame, but in my opinion it’s far less than MLB and the team owners. I’d say 50 MLB – 30 owners – 20 players.

                  1. Cubbie Blues

                    If I’m not mistaken there was some clause that any “illegal drugs” were considered banned.

                    1. MichiganGoat

                      Yes but there were a ton of new roids, supplements, additives, spices that were being created that might not fall under the policy. HGH for certain wasn’t banned at during this era… so i’m sure there was plenty of uncertainty when reading the law. And a steroid is not illegal if its prescribed by a doctor… something I’m sure a player could find.

                    2. Cubbie Blues

                      Exactly, everything that didn’t fall into the MLB banned substance or illegal in the US was not a banned substance. I view it akin to what our FO is doing. Finding loopholes in the rules. You find where you can get that competitive advantage within the rules and exploit them. Once the rules are changed you move on to the next best loophole

        2. mudge

          That’s it exactly. But nobody’s free to say anything. This is America.

    2. Turn Two

      I’d say most are too proud to come clean. Your model assumes the over riding sentiment of these guys is fan forgiveness and many could care less about current fan sentiment.

      1. Oswego chris

        You are right on guys like Bonds and McGuire…heck, Barry Bonds was a tool long before he started juicing…he got voted off his college team…but you could get a ton of the mid level guys…

        Same strategy when going after the Mafia and Omertà

      2. MichiganGoat

        I think the bigger issues is that these players want to be in the HOF and if they go public it will be even worse for them because it will bring to light just how much the MLB ignored the problem. Yes the have massive egos and that ego needs to be immortalized in the HOF so they will do whatever they can to help that happen.

        Right now silence is the best thing they can do and hope that eventually everything will be forgotten. If they are encouraged by MLB to speak out they will, but not until they are certain that is the best move.

        1. Turn Two

          True, which would speak to chris`point that mid level guys may be the ones to take the bait, the brady Anderson s and Ryan Franklins

          1. MichiganGoat

            It will take one of the big boys to make a real splash… maybe Brady could open the lid and help get everything started. But as long as the big names are silent MLB will continue to do the shunning.

          2. CubsFaninMS

            …and Luis Gonzalez. Dear Lord did you see the kind of year he had one year? Out of nowhere. Absolutely no way his power from when he left the Cubs went up that dramatically without some special performance-enhancing elixir.

        2. ssckelley

          But I think either way they will not get into the HOF, so you might as well clear your name and come clean. The public wants to love their baseball heros, they would forgive and forget very fast if they just owned up to it. Some of these guys like Barry Bonds would have had HOF careers even had he not juiced. I remember when he came up with the Pirates he was an amazing talent, he would have had an amazing career even without cheating.

          There is no place in the HOF for any of these guys.

          1. MichiganGoat

            We also have to realize that “coming clean” might open the gates to a ton of other things that the union, players, teams and baseball do not want to open. Once you open that box you won’t be able to limit what is exposed.

            I just wish there was an easy answer to handling that era but this shunning that has been happening is not they way to go.

            1. ssckelley

              Your right, it would make the Black Sox scandal look petty if this all came out. I think some day all of this will come out but it may be long after Selig is gone.

  12. On The Farm

    “The All-Star break has arrived, which means the Home Run Derby, the All-Star Game, and an understood moratorium on announcing transactions.”

    I had a dream I woke up this morning to Garza being traded to the Giants (which is weird because that’s not even in my top two of preferred destinations for him), it was a big deal because they got the trade done before the All-Star game and yes Crick was in the deal with two other guys.

    1. ssckelley

      You realize if your dream comes true there will be added pressure on you to dream up other predictions for us?

      :D

      1. On The Farm

        If we land Crick in a trade, trust me I will learn to control my dreams.

    2. Jono

      Now THAT’S a sign of a real cubs fan

      1. ssckelley

        Well my dream was Bryant hitting a home run in each of his first 3 at bats in Arizona. Does that count?

        1. Jono

          Most definitely! I wish my Cubs dreams were positive like that. Most of the times they’re nightmares

        2. CubsFaninMS

          Maybe Arizona will have to bat him first in the line up just like he did in college!

          1. ssckelley

            ohhhhh, I like the way you think!!!

  13. Bilbo161

    Ahh dreams. My dream: Alcantara, he of strong and quick wrist action reminds me in that sense of another with a similar strength. Ernie Banks!

    1. Mick

      During yesterday’s telecast, Sutcliffe compared him to Jimmy Rollins which hit the nail on the head.

      1. Jono

        I hope that the emergence of Alcantara leads to Castro being traded for pitching when baez is ready to come up.

        1. On The Farm

          Why can’t all three play 2B-SS-3B? and have one of the best young IF when you add Rizzo?

          1. Jono

            Bryant? I assume he’ll come up awfully quickly, and that he’ll be at third. Maybe he goes to the outfield. If so, Bryant, Soler, Almora would be an awesome outfield!

            1. On The Farm

              Exactly if the FO can detirmine that Castro or Baez can play 3B, they can move Bryant to the OF which will speed up his ability to move through the system (a la Bryce Harper). I am not saying it will be that rapid, but being in the OF as opposed to 3B will make the transition a little faster.

              1. Jono

                they wouldn’t need a signle free agent hitter if that plan pans out. That takes care of all the positions with impact talent. That’s why I tend to think they’re gonna trade Castro. There’s just SO MUCH offensive talent there with such a lack of impact arms

          2. Jono

            plus their need for impact pitching seems to go well with Castro’s long term cost control. That makes him very valuable in a trade. And I’m not pretending to be a baseball expert here or of a high baseball IQ mind. These are just the opinions of a casual fan

            1. On The Farm

              True, but if Castro can return to where he was last season and be top three in the NL in hits, it does not sound like the type of player you want to trade if you can help it. I understand how valuable is control is, but it kind of mirrors the situation with trading Shark, we would need at least two SP in return for him since he still has control. I would argue if Castro can even return to his rookie year form next year, he would need a bigger return than Shark, and not a lot of teams can offer that.

              1. Jono

                good point. I surely hope he improves to the point where teams can’t afford to trade for him

                1. On The Farm

                  Yeah trading him now would be a sell low situation and I just don’t think you could do that, but you do make a valid point,and if someone like the Red Sox were to offer a trade that featured something like Barnes/Webster, Owens, and Trey Ball (2013 #7 overall pick), it would be a trade that the Cubs should think about. I can’t think of any other team that has that much impact SP that would be avalialbe once they would be able to sell Castro.

  14. CubsFanSaxMan

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but I was always led to believe that Sosa, Bonds, McGuire, etal. did nothing illegal at that time. The drug testing then (and the policy) was not what it is today. If that is true, even if they took certain now banned substances, their careers should not be swept under the carpet. If they have the numbers let them in the HOF.

    1. Old school

      Sax man – use of illegal drugs means they did something illegal – there’s a reason the Feds are involved….

    2. Pat

      That’s really difficult to say. Steroids were not against the rules of MLB, but they were most certainly illegal in the U.S. without a prescription. Due to medical privacy laws it is certainly possible they were able to find a doctor to prescribe them and we didn’t find out. But it’s much more likely they got them off the street, in which case it would be illegal.

      Sosa is an interesting case in that you could assert that he only did them in the offseason in the D.R., where I believe they were legal at the time. However, given his continued size and production it is unlikely he stopped cycling them while in the U.S.

  15. cubzfan

    Summary of the Garza situation based on rumors on this site and others:

    1. Cubs have narrowed the field down to 3-4 teams with serious interest.
    2. At least one of those teams, probably the Indians, is only willing to meet the Cubs’ asking price if they can sign Garza to an extension. This triggered a few actions.
    * The Cubs inform Garza’s agent that they have given permission for this other team to discuss an extension.
    * So that negotiation can happen in good faith, the Cubs also inform Garza’s agent that all offers from the Cubs are off the table and they will not negotiate during the other team’s window.
    * The Cubs inform the other interested teams of this move, and give any of them the chance to also negotiate with Garza’s agent. At least one time takes them up on it. Since these kind of pre-trade negotiations have to happen with the commissioner’s consent, and usually are a three-day window, they started yesterday and will end Wednesday. Thus, no announcement until after the All-Star game, as expected.

    If this is the case, then several things could still happen. I’ll put odds on them hoping to stimulate some discussion.
    a. One of the teams meets Garza’s demands, agrees to sign him to an extension if acquired, and the deal goes through on Wednesday (or soon after, depending on when Garza can take a physical.) (10%)
    b. No team meets Garza’s demands for an extension, making him realize that he won’t get much more on the free agent market than the Cubs would pay, so his agents come back to the Cubs with an offer they accept, and Garza signs an extension with the Cubs. (5%)
    c. No extension is agreed to with anyone, and the Cubs go through with a deal this week. (50%)
    d. No extension, but no deal until closer to the trade deadline, as the teams wait to learn more information about injured players, suspensions, etc. (25%)
    e. No extension, no deal, the Cubs make Garza a qualifying offer after the season and get a supplementary draft pick. (5%)
    f. Nothing doing, Garza stays a Cub, and gets injured again before the end of the year. (5%)

    Have I missed any possibilities? What do you think the odds of these outcomes actually are?

    1. X the Cubs Fan

      Pretty much covered all the possibilities besides waiver trade deadline. And out of these scenarios “A” is the best option.

  16. miggy80

    I wish that we could get back to having a consistent announcer to sing the stretch. I think Pat Hughes would do a great job.

  17. ruby2626

    Wonder what it would take to get Stanton. Anyone think Castro and Vogelbach would come close to making it happen? Because of Castro’s cost control he would probably have a lot of appeal to Miami.

    Could the Cubs have possibly played a dumber game last night? When Valbuena let the chopper down the line go hoping it would go foul, don’t think I ever saw a play like that before. What was Rizzo thinking when he cut that ball off when the runner looked nailed at the plate? He is in such a funk, horrible game last night. DP with 1st and 2nd and no outs and that soft liner to 2B with a man on 3B and 1 out. Hope he spends the All star break in the batting cage, fundamentally he has got to be doing something different.

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