The good news: the Chicago Cubs had a little more strength added to their pitching staff on Sunday as starting pitcher Scott Baker started his first game since having Tommy John surgery in 2012.
The bad news: Baker only faced six batters before he was pulled after one inning.
Well, you have to start somewhere, right?
Baker has not started a game since his days with the Minnesota Twins in 2011, which leaves him plenty of room for improvement. According to Cubs.com, the team hopes to have Baker in the starting rotation by mid-April, the one year anniversary of his surgery.
While Baker’s first start wasn’t exactly what Cubs fans want to see right now, there’s no need to panic about the right-hander just yet. After all, the pitcher has been out of the game for over a year and it will definitely take some time for him to find his groove on the mound once again.
But Baker wasn’t oblivious to his struggles on Sunday. ”Did I locate as well as I would like to? No,” he told Cubs.com of his first Spring Training start. He continued, “That’s still part of the process, also. It’s another step. The results weren’t there. Physically, I did everything I could to prepare for this outing, and that’s going to continue to be the case.”
Rest assured that Baker should make a successful comeback after a few starts. He proved himself to be a decent pitcher during the 2011 season with the Twins, earning a record of 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA, according to Cubs.com. His stats are better than Cubs’ ace Jeff Samardzija’s.
No, Baker probably isn’t going to be the top pitcher as he continues his recovery in 2013, but his past record should give Cubs fans a reason to hope for a better future.
“You go back and work on the things that, regardless of whether you had surgery or not, you work on those things mechanically and just go get them next time,” Baker said to Cubs.com after his short first outing.
That’s the kind of positive attitude the Cubs need in order to keep pushing forward.