Dusty Baker denies asking the Reds for contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported earlier this week that “Reds manager Dusty Baker asked management about a contract extension … but evidently the team is not yet ready to decide upon his future.”
Baker was asked about the report yesterday and responded: “I haven’t talked to them. I don’t know where he heard that. It’s going to come when it comes. If it doesn’t come, what can you do? You still have to keep living, still keep doing your job.”
Rosenthal is among baseball’s most plugged-in reporters and if Baker’s agent did the talking for him the “I haven’t talked to them” line could technically still be true. Either way, he’s clearly on the hot seat. And deservedly so.
Baker built up a strong reputation while managing the Giants when Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent were the best one-two punch in the world, but had a losing record in his final two seasons with the Cubs and his first two seasons with the Reds. Right now Cincinnati is 9-11 and it looks like finishing above .500 for the first time since 2004 may be a struggle for the 61-year-old skipper.
Toss in his reputation for shredding young arms and his proudly eschewing on-base percentage for speedy athletes who can’t hit, and it’d be tough to blame for the Reds for wanting to go in a different direction after this season. Since leaving the Giants in 2002 his record is 483-509.

Watch: Javier Baez snares a 106-MPH ground ball

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What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.

Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.