Cubs’ Baker shut down after setback with elbowContinue reading.
Setback for Cubs’ Baker to cost him half the season
GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Cubs right-hander Scott Baker likely will miss at least the first half of the season after an exam on his rebuilt pitching elbow determined he suffered a muscle strain while pitching in his first official spring training game March 17.
The team said Baker won’t start throwing a ball again for another month. A rehab program at that point would take at least another two months to prepare him for a major-league game.
Until suffering the setback, Baker was expected to join the Cubs’ rotation in mid-April – close to the one-year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery.
“It’s bad news,” manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s somebody you were obviously counting on to be there whenever it was going to be – mid-April or May. So that’s bad news whenever you lose a little bit of depth, but it’s just going to take a little bit longer.”
Baker, who had not had a setback during his rehab process until that game a week ago, signed a one-year, $5.5 million deal with the Cubs last fall. The Cubs said at the time they looked at Baker as a potential candidate for a longer-term contract, depending on his recovery and results this year.
“This is obviously a setback, but not where he won’t be able to pitch this season,” Sveum said.
“We do have the luxury with the depth that we have,” he added.
Sveum has left-hander Travis Wood and right-hander Carlos Villanueva in his opening rotation with Baker and Matt Garza (lat strain) opening on the disabled list.
They join Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson and Scott Feldman.
–Outfielder Dave Sappelt, who was hit on the neck with a throw while running the bases Saturday, is expected to miss two to three days because of the bruise.
–The Cubs on Sunday optioned reliever Rafael Dolis to Class AAA Iowa, leaving three pitchers left for the final bullpen spot: left-hander Hisanori Takahashi and right-handers Cory Wade and Zach Putnam.