Cubs reach 1-year deal with former Twins RHP Baker

Associated Press Modified: November 14, 2012 at 12:24 am •  Published: November 13, 2012
Advertisement
;

It's not the first time under Epstein that the Cubs have taken a chance on a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery.

They signed Manny Corpas to a one-year non-guaranteed deal last winter and acquired prospect Arodys Vizcaino from Atlanta in the deal that sent Paul Maholm to the Braves last July. The Cubs had also gambled on Maholm by signing him from Pittsburgh last January after he had to shut it down because of a left shoulder strain, and he was 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA they traded him.

"You'd love to sign pitchers who are 100 percent healthy and have never been hurt, but those animals don't really exist. They're certainly hard to find," Epstein said. "The medical assessment on every pitcher is very important and if you have to sign a pitcher who's coming off of surgery, Tommy John is the one you want him to come off because it's a very predictable rehab with a very strong success rate, upward of 95 percent and even above if you look at more recent information."

Baker doesn't think he'll have to change his approach because of the injury, although he's anticipating a few bumps along the way.

"I'm going to promise 20 wins and 200 innings," he said. "I think you have to be a realist and you have to realize there are going to be speed bumps along the way, but in saying that, I think you're able to combat those speed bumps and really kind of get to the bottom of the problem or the situation in the first place and kind of allow yourself to work through those things."

NOTES: Epstein said RHP Matt Garza will go for a scan on his injured pitching elbow this week. He did not pitch after July 21 last season. ... Epstein said 3B Ian Stewart, who missed much of last season with a wrist injury last spring, reported a few days ago that "everything felt really good."