Dusty Baker hints that he intends to return as Reds manager next year

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Dusty Baker is currently in the final year of his contract with the Reds. The 63-year-old also just recently returned to the dugout after missing 11 games in September due to an irregular heartbeat and a mild stroke. However, he hinted to reporters yesterday that he intends to remain with the Reds next season.

Here’s a sampling of his comments via Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.

“The way I look at it, we’ll get even better in the future,” Baker said. “The more mature these guys get, we’ve got a bunch of guys here still learning how to hit, still learning how to play, basically.”

Does that mean he will be back in 2013? Baker’s face cracked a smile.

“This is my team, you know,” Baker replied.

“Maybe [the stroke] was a sign I am supposed to stay maybe where I am,” Baker said. “I believe in signs, so sometimes it happens.”

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has not discussed Baker’s situation publicly and intends to take care of it during the offseason. Baker is currently 19th all-time among managers with 1,571 wins, including a 419-391 record over five seasons with the Reds. Only Jim Leyland (15th all-time with 1,676 wins) has more wins among active managers.

Clayton Kershaw struggles with control, walks six Marlins

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.

Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.

The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.