After a rough first few starts to his minor-league rehab assignments, Cubs right-hander Scott Baker appears to be settling in a bit.
Taking the mound for the Kane County Cougars Friday night against Beloit, the 31-year-old right-hander recovered from a slow start to get through four mostly solid innings.
Throwing 59 pitches — 37 of which went for strikes — Baker made it through four innings for the first time in his comeback attempt and finished his night allowing only one run on four hits while walking two and striking out three.
“I felt like I started a little lethargic but picked it up as the night went on,” Baker said. “This has been a process that has taken longer than anticipated, but as long as I feel like we are making progress and moving forward it’s hard to complain.”
Baker allowed a solid single to Ryan Mathews to lead off the game, then walked Daniel Robertson to put himself in a jam just two batters into the game. He worked out of that situation without any damage, but fell behind 1-0 in the second when Matt Olson smacked a leadoff, solo homer to left-center.
From there, Baker allowed just two singles over the next three innings and finished his night by striking out Nick Rickles with an 88 mph fastball, which was his fastest pitch of the outing.
He ended up with a no decision as Trevor Gretzky’s RBI single in the second tied the game at 1-1.
“Sometimes, something like that (the homer) kind of wakes you up,” Baker said. “At that point it was just throw it and trust it, keep it down and let the good movement and action take care of things.”
In his last three starts, Baker has given up three runs on 10 hits in 10 1/3 innings. With the minor-league season coming to a close, he hopes to get the chance to pitch at the big league level before the end of the year.
“Ultimately it’s up to them,” Baker said of Cubs’ management. “We’ll have to see. I need to just plug along and trust the process and see where we end up.”