08/05/12 8:38 PM ET
Cubs deal Baker for two players to be named
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
The ability to move Baker helped the Cubs decide to promote top prospect Josh Vitters. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said they had some talks with the Tigers at the Trade Deadline about Baker, and Detroit claimed the versatile right-handed hitter off waivers. The two teams then worked out a deal.
"I'm happy for Jeff," Hoyer said. "They wanted him a lot and he gets to go into a pennant race and we get to bring up Josh and give him a chance he's earned."
Baker wasn't surprised at the news. The Cubs now have dealt Paul Maholm, Ryan Dempster, Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto and Baker this week.
"When you see the direction they're going here now, you knew it was a possibility," Baker said. "When they made the moves with Maholm, Reed, and Demp, to be honest, I don't blame them. They've got to go young and see what they've got and see what they've got for the future. I just made up 21 games in the standings, so I'm definitely excited about that."
However, the changes mean there aren't too many veterans for the young players to look up to.
"I'm not going to lie, it's going to be tough for some of these guys," Baker said. "Coming off the bench, No. 1, it's not fun, and No. 2, it's not easy. There's a lot of different ways you can make excuses. There's a lot of different ways you can feel sorry for yourself. You see the people who have a lot of success tend to be veterans. They understand it's their role and they understand how hard it is.
"Adrian [Cardenas] picked my brain all the time, talking to me and Reed. It's going to be a tough time. To be honest, it's going to be [Anthony] Rizzo's team, [Starlin] Castro's team, and with those two, the leadership qualities, they have to step up and run with it."
He does understand what the front office is trying to do.
"They're doing it the right way," Baker said of the rebuilding project. "You've got to build it down to build it back up. ... You hope the fans will be patient with them."
Hoyer said both Baker and Johnson got a lot of interest at the Trade Deadline. Johnson was dealt to the Braves last Monday.
"There's a reason two contenders went out and traded for those guys," Hoyer said. "They're both leaders, they're both great in the clubhouse and they both fill a nice role on a contending team. We'll miss their presence in a lot of ways."
Baker, 31, has played first base, second base and right field this year, batting .269 with a .753 OPS, four home runs and 20 RBIs in 54 games. He started primarily against left-handed pitching to take advantage of his career .304 average against southpaws.
Baker has been with the Cubs since they acquired him in a trade with the Rockies on July 2, 2009. He hit .280 with 15 home runs and 85 RBIs in 283 games for the club.
Both Baker and Johnson have a good sense of humor, too. The two dressed up as Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, and Hoyer on the team's "Super Hero" trip.
"The costumes got us," Baker quipped.
Barney sets Cubs single-season errorless mark
LOS ANGELES -- Darwin Barney set the Cubs' single-season club record with his 91st straight errorless game at second base on Saturday. The streak has reached 730 innings since his only 2012 miscue at second base April 17 in Miami.
Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg held the previous single-season mark of 90 straight games without a miscue at second from June 21, 1989, through the end of the season. That stretch was part of Sandberg's franchise record 123-game errorless streak that ran through May 17, 1990.
The National League single-season record for consecutive errorless games at second base is 113, done by San Diego's David Eckstein in 2010. The American League single-season mark is held by Placido Polanco, who had 141 consecutive errorless games at second base in 2007.
Cubs pitcher Matt Garza was sent back to Chicago on Sunday to be examined by the team medical staff after experiencing some stiffness in his right arm. He will likely be placed on the disabled list.
The Cubs had hoped Garza could start Tuesday against the Padres. He has not pitched since July 21, coming out of that game with cramping in his right elbow. He threw in the bullpen on Friday and again on Saturday.
"It was pretty stiff today, so nothing major, but he's not going to be able to go on Tuesday," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said after Sunday's game. "He threw two sides and was kind of stiff today. We're going to back him off and send him home to see the doctor."
Outfielder Tony Campana was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Sunday to make room on the roster for top prospect Brett Jackson, who was promoted from the Minor League team.
Campana was batting .259 and was hitless in his last five games. Despite limited playing time, he ranked sixth in the National League with 26 stolen bases.
"It'll be nice to get some at-bats every day," Campana said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.