Results tagged ‘ Scott Baker ’

9/6 Baker to start Sunday

Scott Baker will get to start after all. The right-handed pitcher, who has spent the season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in April 2012, will start Sunday in the Cubs’ series finale against the Brewers at Wrigley Field.

“They definitely valued my opinion,” Baker said of the conversation he had with Dale Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio. “I said I feel like I need to pitch, I want to pitch. I appreciate the opportunity to get back out there. It’s going to be fun for sure.”

Baker, 31, said his family would be at the game at Wrigley Field.

“It’s been a long while since I started a Major League game, and there’s definitely a lot to be excited about,” he said. “Regardless of the results, I think you go out there and do the best you can and enjoy it. You never know when things are going to be taken away from you. You appreciate every start.”

His last big league start was Aug. 8, 2011, for the Twins. He made two relief appearances after that in September 2011.

“He’s done everything we’ve asked and worked his butt off,” Sveum said Friday. “There haven’t been any setbacks and I think he deserves a chance to start. We’ll see what happens when the third deck [of the stadium] gets on there. He’ll be the first one to say his stuff doesn’t have the life but you put the third deck on a stadium, and find out with the adrenaline and all that. I think he deserves the right to do that.”

The Cubs signed Baker to a one-year, $5.5 million contract this year, and there is no option for 2014. Baker isn’t looking too far ahead.

“We had conversations about what to do next and they value my opinion,” Baker said. “I thought it was important for me to pitch and pitch through September. I just told them there’s no way I can sit here and say I want to not pitch in a Major League game after going through this rehab process for two seasons. I’m just excited.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/6 Cubs lineup & Baker

Chris Rusin takes the mound Friday when the Cubs play host to the Brewers at Wrigley Field. In other news, Scott Baker will make his first start of the season on Sunday in the series finale. Baker has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. No one will be bumped from the Cubs rotation, just pushed back one day for now. Here’s Friday’s lineup:

Castro SS
Barney 2B
Rizzo 1B
Schierholtz RF
Sweeney CF
Murphy 3B
Lake LF
Castillo C
Rusin P

9/4 Extra bases

* Dale Sveum played for the Pirates from 1996-97 and again in 1999, and he knows all about the losing seasons in Pittsburgh. On Tuesday, the Pirates won their 81st game, and are guaranteed their first non-losing season in 21 years.

“It’s obviously been a tough run for them for 20 years,” Sveum said. “I was there for parts of it, and it’s good to see they finally got over that hump, and not only got over the hump, but there’s an above average chance they’ll be in the playoffs as well. It’s good for the city and the organization. A lot of people have been there for a long time. It’s nice to see that organization turn the corner.”

The Cubs still have seven games against the Pirates with a series in Pittsburgh Sept. 12-15 and at Wrigley Field Sept. 23-25. After Wednesday’s game against the Marlins, the Cubs will play 20 of their final 23 games against National League Central teams.

* The Cubs don’t know who will be their closer in 2014, but Sveum said they may use right-hander Pedro Strop in save situations in the final month of games.

“I don’t think you’ll have any idea at the end of this season about what’s going to happen,” Sveum said of the Cubs’ ‘pen. “So many things go into play there and it’s a long offseason. Certain things come up. There’s no way you can predict or plan what’s going to happen by Spring Training next year.”

The Cubs have used 21 relievers this season, with Chang-Yong Lim and Justin Grimm in the bullpen waiting to make an appearance.

* No decision has been made on the next step for right-hander Scott Baker, who made his final Minor League rehab start on Monday for Class A Kane County. Baker has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, which he had in April 2012.

* With right-hander Alberto Cabrera making his season debut and lefty Zac Rosscup making his big league debut, the Cubs have utilized 52 players, one shy of the franchise record 53 who appeared last year. Still looking to make their debuts are Lim, Grimm and catcher J.C. Boscan.

The Cubs have utilized 11 rookies this season, and only four players on the current 25-man roster were on the 2012 Opening Day roster. That list includes Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, James Russell and Jeff Samardzija.

* On Friday, the Cubs play host to the Brewers for a weekend series. Here are the pitching matchups:

Friday: LHP Chris Rusin (2-3, 2.74) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (9-8, 3.32)
Saturday: RHP Jake Arrieta (2-1, 3.77) vs. RHP Johnny Hellweg (0-3, 10.97)
Sunday: LHP Travis Wood (8-11, 3.17) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (10-9, 4.31)

— Carrie Muskat

9/3 Baker unsure of next step

Scott Baker made his final Minor League rehab start Monday, and felt good about finally getting into the sixth inning in a game. But the right-hander, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, still isn’t sure what’s next, and neither are the Cubs. Dale Sveum said the team was still evaluating Baker’s situation, and trying to determine the next step. Starting for the Cubs in the final month is apparently not in the plans.

“At one time, we figured he’d be back maybe at the All-Star break and he obviously had a setback,” Sveum said. “It’s something you want to evaluate for next year becuase we did spend a lot of time and effort getting him back.”

Baker signed a $5.5 million contract this season, and had hoped to return for the second half of the season. In his outing Monday for Class A Kane County, he threw 80 pitches over 5 2/3 innings. However, the velocity is not where he’d like.

The Minor League teams have completed their regular seasons. The right-hander wasn’t sure what’s next.

“Nobody’s told me either way,” Baker said. “[Not starting] is news to me if that’s the case. I understand there are guys who have come over in trades, and there’s a lot of guys here with a limited amount of innings to throw. I get it, I get why they would say that.

“Of course, I do want to start, whether it’s here or there or anywhere because that’s what I’ve always done,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of experience doing anything else and I enjoy starting. That is what I want to do.”

Baker seems to be healthy, bouncing back from the rehab outings. He’s not signed for next season. What about 2014?

“I really haven’t thought about next year,” Baker said, “because there’s a lot that needs to happen this year to set up next year.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/31 Extra bases

Scott Baker will make his final Minor League rehab start Monday for Class A Kane County. The right-hander, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, hopes his next outing will be with the Cubs. Baker’s rehab was interrupted by rain as weather in Florida while he was scheduled to pitch for Class A Daytona kept forcing games to be cancelled.

In his last outing for Kane County, he gave up one hit over five scoreless — and dry — innings.

“For me, it’s just about making pitches, and I feel like I’m making pitches,” Baker said Saturday. “Some of the arm speed is starting to come back. I know that takes time. Just being a realist, it’s a long time since I’ve pitched competitively. There’s only one way to gain the arm speed and that’s to pitch.”

His goal is still to pitch for the Cubs in the final month of regular season play.

“As long as I can make pitches, I think I can be competitive,” Baker said.

He knows how many pitches and innings he needs to convince the Cubs front office.

“I’m cutting it close for sure,” he said of the timing. “I feel if I can get to that six-inning, 90-pitch mark, then that puts me right in line to start a game at the Major League level. Of course, that decision is totally up to them. I really can’t complain one bit because things have been great, and they’ve taken good care of me and allowed me to take my time and made sure I’m just not healthy for the short term but for the long term.”

* Ryan Sweeney stopped by Wrigley Field to pick up his gear. He hopes to be back on Sunday for the rest of the season. Sweeney and Luis Valbuena were scheduled to make rehab outings Saturday night for Class A Kane County. If all goes well, Sweeney, who has been sidelined since June 30 because of a left rib fracture, could be added on Sunday when rosters expand.

“He’ll be back [Sunday],” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Saturday of Sweeney. “It’ll be good to have him back.”

Valbuena, who has been out since Aug. 3, may need a little more time. Kane County’s season ends Monday. Sweeney was batting .295 when injured while Valbuena was hitting .225, but had hit nine home runs and driven in 31 runs.

The Cubs also may add a left-handed pitcher to the bullpen. James Russell has handled those duties by himself for the majority of the season.

* September will be a key month to evaluate the Cubs players.

“I think the last month is priceless for some guys, especially some guys who had a tough struggle or whatever,” Sveum said. “Other guys are being evaluated for next year. The adage of it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, it helps the winter a lot. You don’t want a bad September and then sit on that for the winter.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/30 Extra bases

Third baseman Luis Valbuena, outfielder Ryan Sweeney and pitcher Rafael Dolis will join Class A Kane County to continue their rehab assignments, with Valbuena and Sweeney to be added to the Cubs’ when rosters expand on Sunday. Valbuena has been sidelined since Aug. 3 with a right oblique strain. He played in two games for the Cubs’ Rookie League team in Mesa, and was 5-for-7 with two doubles and a stolen base. Sweeney has been out since crashing into the outfield wall in Seattle June 29 and suffering a fractured left rib. In four games with the Rookie League team, he was 4-for-14 with two doubles and two RBIs.

Dale Sveum said Friday that Valbuena and Sweeney will likely be added once rosters expand on Sunday. The Cubs also were expected to add catcher J.C. Boscan and some pitchers from the Triple-A Iowa roster.

Sveum didn’t expect Valbuena to play every day once he returns.

“It’s nice to have left-handed bats when you can for matchups,” Sveum said. “As for playing every day, I don’t know. This last month will be evaluation for a lot of things.”

* Scott Baker, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, was at Wrigley Field for a bullpen session, and will make one more rehab start for Class A Kane County on Monday. So far, Baker has made two starts for Class A Daytona, and five for Kane County. In his last outing on Wednesday, he retired the first 13 batters he faced, and gave up one hit over five innings.

“We’ll evaluate and see what we want to do the rest of the month,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said of Baker, who signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the team last November.

Kane County’s season ends on Monday.

* Five members of the Cubs’ Double-A Tennessee team were named to the Southern League All-Star team on Friday. They include second baseman Arismendy Alcantara, third baseman Christian Villanueva, shortstop Javier Baez, outfielder Matt Szczur and pitcher Kyle Hendricks.

— Carrie Muskat

8/23 Baker makes rehab start

Cubs pitcher Scott Baker gave up one run over four innings for Class A Kane County in a rehab outing Friday. Baker, in his second Minor League rehab stint this season, coming back from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, gave up four hits, walked two and struck out three in his longest rehab outing. Beloit’s Matt Olson accounted for the only run, hitting a solo homer off Baker in the second. Baker’s rehab was moved to Kane County because the weather kept interfering with his starts at high A Daytona.

8/17 Injury updates

* Outfielder Brian Bogusevic, who has been rehabbing a strained left hamstring, went 4-for-4 on Friday with the Mesa Rookie League team, and will join Triple-A Iowa to continue his rehab. Bogusevic, sidelined since July 15, was 10-for-25 in seven games with Mesa, hitting four doubles and one triple. He also stole three bases.

* Scott Baker will begin his second Minor League rehab stint on Sunday, starting for Class A Daytona. Baker last pitched July 29, and weather delayed his next start. The right-hander is coming back from Tommy John surgery, and the Cubs hope he is healthy enough to appear in a big league game this year. In three starts with Class A Kane County, Baker gave up 13 earned runs over 8 2/3 innings, striking out five. In one start with Daytona, he gave up one earned run on three hits over 3 1/3 innings.

* Arodys Vizcaino, also rehabbing from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, was to go to Mesa on Wednesday to continue his rehab there.

8/13 Extra bases

* Top prospect Jorge Soler, sidelined since June 14 with a stress fracture in his left tibia, most likely will not rejoin Class A Daytona this season, but still could play in the Arizona Fall League. Soler, 21, was examined Monday in Mesa, Ariz., where he is rehabbing, and the test results were sent to Chicago. Theo Epstein said the early reports show that Soler still needs time to heal and his leg will remain in a boot. The Arizona Fall League begins Oct. 8.

* First-round pick Kris Bryant and Dan Vogelbach, a second-round selection in 2011, were both promoted to Class A Daytona, with Bryant making the biggest leap from short-season Boise.

“In Bryant’s case, we wanted him to shake the rust off in short-season ball and get him adjusted to what life in pro baseball is like,” Epstein said. “He started out a little rough, that 0-for-5 [in first game with] five [strikeouts], but it was just a matter of getting his timing back. For the last week or so he’s just been locked in. … He had nothing much left to do at that level.”

Bryant, ranked No. 4 among the Cubs’ top 20 prospects, was named the Northwest League Player of the Week on Monday, going 9-for-17 with three doubles, one triple, a home run and five RBIs in five games.

The Cubs wanted Jeimer Candelario to continue to get regular playing time at third base at low A Kane County, plus Daytona is headed for the playoffs, which is also why Bryant was added along with Vogelbach, ranked No. 11 on the Cubs’ top 20 prospects list.

“[Vogelbach] has been pretty consistent driving the baseball and getting on base and he’s working hard on his defense,” Epstein said. “We felt it made sense for him to move up at this time.”

* Epstein, GM Jed Hoyer, and Dale Sveum will meet soon to discuss possible September call-ups.

“We don’t want to clutter the locker room with people who aren’t going to play but [add] people who we want to see and get their feet wet and get some playing time before next season,” Sveum said.

* There are no plans to have Junior Lake play anywhere but outfield with the Cubs for the rest of this season. Lake came up as an infielder, but when he was called up from Triple-A Iowa, he was inserted into the outfield because of injuries.

“Right now, with our personnel, he’s not playing third base,” Sveum said.

* Scott Baker begins his second rehab stint, with hopes of getting into a Major League game next month. Baker is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Rain interrupted his scheduled starts.

“The only limitation is health,” Epstein said.

— Carrie Muskat

7/30 Extra bases

Updates on Arrieta, Baker, Lake and Rizzo

* The Cubs recalled right-hander Jake Arrieta from Triple-A Iowa, and he will be the 26th man for Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Brewers. Arrieta will make his Cubs debut, starting the second game of the twinbill. Arrieta, 27, was the Orioles’ Opening Day starter in 2012. He was acquired from Baltimore as part of the Scott Feldman deal on July 2. In five starts at Triple-A Iowa, Arrieta was 1-2 with a 4.03 ERA.

* Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader was the Cubs first at Wrigley Field since June 28, 2011, when they played two against the Giants. Chicago did play a twinbill in Cincinnati last Aug. 18.

* Scott Baker can take his time rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. The Cubs had hoped the right-hander would start this year, but there isn’t as much of a need as last season when they were scrambling to find starters. In his fourth rehab start on Monday, Baker gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings for Class A Daytona against Fort Myers. Baker threw 65 pitches, struck out two, and served up a solo home run to Matt Koch in the fourth. In three previous rehab outings with Class A Kane County, Baker was charged with 13 runs on 17 hits and six walks over 8 2/3 innings.

Dale Sveum said Tuesday that Baker’s velocity was a little better in Monday’s outing.

“Sixty five pitches in 3 1/3 innings, that’s 20 pitches per inning again,” Sveum said. “He’s still not getting quick outs and what you want done in a 65-pitch outing.”

The Cubs have dealt two-fifths of their rotation — Matt Garza and Scott Feldman — but were better prepared this season to fill the gaps, inserting Carlos Villanueva and promoting lefty Chris Rusin. Jake Arrieta, acquired from the Orioles in the Feldman deal, started the second game of the Cubs’ doubleheader Tuesday.

“We’re not too concerned [about Baker] because right now, we don’t have a need right now, and we’re OK with everything,” Sveum said. “It’s just kind of a slow development for him right now. We don’t have a big need right now for a starting pitcher and we’re OK with things progressing at a slow rate.”

* The best way for Junior Lake to learn how to play the outfield is by playing. Lake, who had been an infielder primarily coming up through the Cubs system, has played only in the outfield since he was promoted July 19.

“You can’t replace the reps in a game in center field and the outfield,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “You can kind of simulate infield because of ground balls but the outfield. It’s very difficult to simulate balls over your head and in the gap and other outfielders running for the same ball. Outfield is a lot of reps to get going out there.”

The Cubs are hoping Lake gets more playing time in the outfield in winter ball. Sveum wouldn’t rule out having the athletic Lake switch to third if needed.

“He’s the kind of guy you want covering a lot of space,” Sveum said. “It looks like he can go get ’em.”

* Anthony Rizzo will host his first “Cook-Off for Cancer” on Aug. 14 at Cafe Brauer in Chicago. Notable Chicago chefs will prepare ballpark food as only they can, and the dishes will be served by Cubs players. Guests will vote for their favorite chef by tipping their Cubs server. All tips and event proceeds will benefit pediatric cancer research, care and support. The event will take place from 6-10 p.m. CT. Among the chefs participating are Giuseppe Tentori of GT Fish and Oyster; Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno; Nate Henssler of Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab; Cosmo Goss of Publican; Jimmy Bannos of the Purple Pig; Mark Sparacino of Proseco; and David Burns, Wrigley Field’s executive chef. Tickets are $200, and available on

Rizzo also will celebrate being cancer free for five years when he hosts his second Walk-Off for Cancer on Dec. 15 in Parkland, Fla., at Pine Trails Park. The walk will begin at 9 a.m. ET.

— Carrie Muskat