Shelbyville Daily Union

March 19, 2013

Rosales' 2-run HRs beat Cubs


Shelbyville Daily Union

---- — PHOENIX (AP) — Scott Baker was thrilled to be pitching in front of fans for the first time since having elbow-reconstruction surgery. He knows it could be quite some time before he’s doing it on a regular basis.

Baker faced six batters in his first start since 2011, in a Chicago Cubs split squad’s 12-6 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday.

“It was exciting. I threw some decent pitches, but I also was a bit jumpy and got the ball up,” he said.

Baker had been a reliable starter after being taken by the Twins in the second round of the 2003 draft. He had a 63-48 record in seven seasons, and was Minnesota’s opening day starter in 2010.

But after he missed all last season, the Minnesota Twins did not pick up the $9.25 million option on Baker’s contract for 2013. The Cubs signed him as a free agent to a one-year deal in November for $5.5 million wit another $1.5 million in performance bonuses.

Baker hopes to be ready to join the Cubs near the one-year anniversary of his surgery on April 17, but that possibility remains uncertain.

“There are plenty of guys who have come back in one year,” he said. “That (decision to join the club) will be up to the medical staff. I made a step. That’s what you have to do regardless of surgery. I want to be able to start every fifth day.”

The A’s hit four home runs overall, including two late-inning two run shots by Adam Rosales. Josh Donaldson also hit a three-run homer.

The play of Oakland’s middle infielders this spring has given manager Bob Melvin a pleasant problem as he tries to decide which ones to keep on the opening day roster.

Eric Sogard has been the hottest hitter of late. He was 4 for 4 on Sunday and is nine for his last 12, including five doubles, in his last four games. Jemile Weeks had a hit and played nice defense at second base after being slowed by a bruised shoulder and Andy Parrino had two hits. And don’t forget Jed Lowrie, hitting .333 with 10 hits after being acquired in a trade with Houston on Feb. 4.