Dusty Baker remains hospitalized for fourth straight day

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Despite repeated reports that Dusty Baker was set to return from an irregular heartbeat before now the Reds manager remains hospitalized in Chicago for a fourth straight day.

Fill-in manager Chris Speier was asked by reporters if the longer than expected stay for Baker suggested he was dealing with a more serious problem than initially believed, but downplayed that notion:

That’s speculation. Knowing Northwestern, they just wanted to be thorough. I think that in itself is the best answer, just to make sure.

Hopefully he’s right, although Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that Speier may not really be in position to know either way because he hasn’t actually spoken to Baker since Thursday.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.