3/24 Baker shut down with elbow strain

Cubs pitcher Scott Baker had hoped to pitch in a big league game on the one-year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery. Instead, he’ll have to delay his return.
Baker, who has been shut down since his only Cactus League start March 17, was examined on Sunday and diagnosed with a strained right elbow. The right-hander will not throw for at least one month, and then be re-evaluated at that point. Baker had the procedure done last April, and had optimistically hoped to be pitching in a Major League game next month.

Cubs orthopedic specialist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo, who examined Baker on Sunday, also checked on starter Matt Garza, who has not thrown off the mound since Feb. 17 because of a strained left lat. Garza was making progress, and on pace to throw his first bullpen the first week of April.

The Cubs have slotted Travis Wood and Carlos Villanueva into the rotation to fill Baker’s and Garza’s spots. Next in line would be Chris Rusin, who started on Sunday against the Indians.

“We do have the luxury with the depth we have,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Sunday. “It is obviously a setback [with Baker] but it’s not to where he won’t be able to pitch this season.”

Baker had felt some discomfort after throwing 23 pitches against the Athletics, and the good news is that the problem won’t require any additional surgery, which had been the intial fear.

— Carrie Muskat

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