Report: Baker to stay with Cubs for remainder of season

CHICAGO (Ticker) - Dusty Baker’s job apparently is safe, for now. reported Thursday that Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry announced Baker would remain as the team’s manager for the rest of the 2006 season.

Hendry hoped to end the swirling speculation regarding Baker, who is in the final year of his contract with the Cubs. Thanks to a stellar defensive effort Thursday, Chicago (40-61) climbed within 18 games of first-place St. Louis (58-43) in the National League Central Division with a 5-4 victory.

“I let Dusty know today that he would be staying the rest of the year,” Hendry told the website. “There won’t be any discussions or questions to be asked about extensions now or anything like that.

“I let him know that for the next couple months, I felt it was best for him to complete the season and not have to worry about that.”

Baker, 57, entered Thursday’s contest against St. Louis with a 1,135-1,006 career record in 14-plus seasons with the Cubs and the San Francisco Giants. The three-time NL Manager of the Year has drawn the ire of the Chicago fans and media this season for his club’s uninspiring play.

But Hendry came to his manager’s defense, blaming some of the Cubs’ ineffectiveness on injuries to key players such as Derrek Lee, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.

“With Derrek going down again, we’re going to be scratching and clawing and taking a look at some of our other people for the rest of the year,” Hendry said. “I felt we should put (rumors about Baker’s status) to bed for now.”

Hendry did say he would reassess Baker’s status with the Cubs at the end of the season.

“Very briefly after the season is over, I’ll try to move expediently and make a decision as to what direction to go after that,” Hendry said.

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Updated Friday, Jul 28, 2006