The Chicago Cubs just announced that Scott Baker will start on Sunday against Milwaukee.
The start will be the culmination of an extended recovery period, which saw Baker go under the knife for one procedure, and wake up having had Tommy John surgery. He didn’t pitch at all in 2012, and the Cubs signed him after the season. Baker was getting in pitching shape in Spring Training, and looked to be on track for a late-April, early-May debut. He suffered a setback, and didn’t pitch competitively again until the second half in the low minors. From there, he got mixed results, and didn’t seem to have the same velocity he’d had pre-surgery. Then the minor league season ended, and it’s been several days of uncertainty about what the next step would be. Indeed, Dale Sveum said, whatever the step, it would probably see Baker coming out of the pen for the Cubs this month.
Instead, it’s going to be Baker starting on Sunday.
It doesn’t sound like he’s permanently joining the rotation, and no one is having his start skipped (just pushed back). The Cubs will see how he performs on Sunday, and then make a decision from there.
Baker, who turns 32 later this month, is currently making $5.5 million, and is a free agent after the year. The Cubs will see how his trajectory looks for 2014 – they wouldn’t be giving him this start if there was absolutely no chance of bringing him back – and make a decision on whether to re-up after the year. Baker, too, will have a say in the process, obviously, but he’s expressed interest in returning.
I guess we’ll see how he looks on Sunday.