Rehabbing Baker to be rewarded with start Sunday
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A little lobbying may have paid off for Scott Baker.
The Cubs on Friday said the rehabbing right-hander will start Sunday's series finale against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. The rest of the rotation would be pushed back one day, with Travis Wood starting Monday at Cincinnati.
Baker has been on the 60-day disabled list all year as he attempts to come back from Tommy John surgery, performed in April 2012 while he was with the Twins.
He recently rejoined the Cubs after making a final minor-league rehab start with the Kane County Cougars. Initially, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Baker would go to the bullpen. Baker always maintained that he'd like to start, just as he had for almost all of his career in Minnesota.
"I think they definitely valued my opinion on it," he said. "I said I feel like I need to pitch. I want to pitch, and we talked about this earlier, whether it's here or there or wherever. I definitely appreciate the opportunity to get back out there."
Sveum said the start is a reward of sorts for all of Baker's hard work during the rehab. He made 1 start in spring training but suffered a setback, forcing him on the rehab course, first at the Cubs' facility in Arizona and then in the minors.
"It's good for all parties," Sveum said. "For him, as much as anything, this was a guy coming off Tommy John, and he's had to be in Arizona almost the whole year, and he's done everything we've asked and been the ultimate professional.
"It's good for us to see him and evaluate to see what's going to go on afterward."
It's also not known whether the Cubs will go with a six-man rotation the rest of the season. Sveum said they would address that after Baker's start.
Quoth the Bard:
Right-handed reliever Daniel Bard arrived at Wrigley Field two days after the Cubs claimed him off waivers from Boston.
Bard threw for pitching coach Chris Bosio and bloodied his uniform in the process as he opened a cut on his hand. The Cubs aren't sure when they'll get Bard into a game.
He had success as a setup man for the Red Sox in 2010 and 2011. They tried to convert him to a starter, but that didn't work, and Bard blamed himself as much as anyone. He also missed time this year with an abdominal injury.
"I think (the problems) started with the move to starting," he said. "I don't think it was necessarily a bad move in itself. We started changing too many things to turn me for a reliever to starter whereas I probably could have taken the pitcher I was out of the bullpen for four years and dropped that into a starting role.
"It kind of got me out of my game, and it's been a little bit of a journey the past year trying to get it back."
That's 30 for Gregg:
Kevin Gregg notched his 30th save of the season. He reached that plateau for the third time in his career and the first since 2010, with Toronto.
The Cubs signed him to a minor-league contract in April after the Dodgers had no room for him out of spring training.
"It's one of those benchmarks for a closer," he said. "For where my year started, it's pretty exciting to get to."
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