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John Baker Could Be Marlins' Lefty Bat Off The Bench

      Even though he might still be incapable of contributing defensively come Opening Day, catcher John Baker might be available to the Marlins as a left-handed pinch-hitter off the bench. Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said today that Baker, who underwent elbow ligament replacement (Tommy John) surgery in September, could be used as a lefty bat off the bench even if his throwing arm isn't yet at full strength.

      "He may be full-go hitting (by then)," Beinfest said. "Baker has been in the big leagues. He does have experience. And he knows how to deal with pitching in the National League."

      With the winter meetings set to kick off Monday in Orlando, finding a lefty bat for the bench is one of the few remaining tasks for Beinfest and the Marlins' front office, which has already performed most of the heavy lifting this offseason in terms of roster changes. While rookie Scott Cousins is one possibility for the role, Baker is another in-house option.

      "Took my first 25 swings off a tee on Wednesday and it went well," Baker said in a text message. "25 today, 50 next week m w f, and then flips 3rd week of December. Plan is to be at full strength hitting by January 1st. I'm going to southern California early January to work with Brady Anderson from the O's. I'm going to shadow wes helms during spring training so I can improve as a pinch-hitter."

       Baker said he doesn't begin throwing until Jan. 1, which means it's highly unlikely he'll be at full-strength throwing when pitchers and catchers report to spring training in mid-February. Baker's pinch-hitting history in the majors is limited. He is just 2 for 15 as  PH, but one of his hits was a home run, a game-tying, 3-run blast in the ninth off the Giants' Brian Wilson in 2008. Overall, he is a career .287 hitter against right-handed pitching (compared to .189 vs. LH).

      -- My Hall of Fame ballot arrived in the mail today. On it for the first time are three former Marlins who were members of the '97 championship team: Kevin Brown, Charles Johnson and Al Leiter. Other former Marlins on this year's ballot are Lenny Harris, Tim Raines and Benito Santiago.

Comments

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Eddie S

Senabia has pitched so well he deserves to be the 5th starter instead of inconsistent Volstad. Volstad started to pitch well when the Marlins were practically out of contention. If I was a gambler I would put my money on Senabia instead of Volstad.

xkirinichibanx

I agree with you 100%

Villa26

Johnson-Nolasco-Sanchez-Volstad-Vasquez
...Sanabia is going to be a long reliever for the first half of the season, then, Volstad or Vasquez are going to struggle ( only one of them)...after that, Sanabia is going to take the place of the ONLY starter who is struggling...
At the end Sanabia is going to finish strong...
And he'll secure a starting job for the 2012 campaign...
That is what is going to happen...

Villa26

Sanabia Is going to have his tine and opportunity...
We all know that...

juan v.

bring back cantu.bounce back bargain and can work eith perry hill on offense and whatever happened to amezega

Mr. B

We could use a lefty in the starting rotation. Maybe trade Volstad for a lefty. We sure don't seem to have much pitching depth in the minors anymore.

CoachG

Baker would be a pretty good bat off the bench if he can stay healthy. When it comes to defense... He's like mike piazza with that arm....

Lou Vales

I have bashed Baker for playing with an injury that he hid from the team.I had believed that caused majority of the damage.If rong, I sincerely apologize. Am I wrong.

A list of Players who have hid injuries last 2 years:

Tucker
Miller
Ceda

You guys fill in some more.

Jacob

You're probably right about what caused Baker's injury. I mean, you are Dr. Lou, right? You do travel with the team and monitor the players and see their helath reports, right?

Thanks for the insight, Dr. Lou. Keep up the good work.

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