Dale Sveum would like to see Scott Baker return to Cubs
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter September 14, 2013 11:24PM
Updated: October 16, 2013 6:59AM
PITTSBURGH — Not even Scott Baker seems to have a firm idea of his chances to remain a Cub next season.
But after six more impressive innings in his second start since Tommy John surgery, Baker is certainly a wanted man by at least one Cubs official: manager Dale Sveum.
“It’s always nice to have somebody [like] that,” Sveum said of his desire to see Baker back with the Cubs after his one-year, $5.5-million deal expires. “He’ll be, what, 18 months [removed from] surgery come spring training. That’s usually when those guys come back full strength and ready to go.”
As it was Saturday night, Baker showed nearly the velocity he had before surgery during an efficient performance that included no walks and just three hits — albeit, one being a tying, sixth-inning homer by Jose Tabata in a 2-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
It’s the only run he has allowed in 11 innings since joining the rotation a week ago. He has one scheduled start left.
“It’s hard to say right now [about next year], but I can say that everything here has been great,” he said, “as far as the care and allowing me to get healthy. It’s definitely an interesting place for me to be next year. I love the city and I love the organization as a whole. But obviously, we’ll just have to see because there’s a lot of moving parts. They’ve got a master plan and we’ll just see if I’m part of it.”
Five of the last six home runs allowed by reliever James Russell (1-6) have tagged him with a loss, including Saturday’s to former Cub Marlon Byrd in the seventh. “You wish it would be a single once in a while,” Sveum said. Russell has give up seven homers, two more than he allowed during a 7-1 season last year.
◆ The Cubs have 11 more road wins than all of last season and remain mathematically alive for a winning road record — though it would take a 7-1 finish against Pittsburgh (one game), Milwaukee (four) and St. Louis (three).