Scott Baker diagnosed with right elbow strain, expected to miss first half of 2013 season

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Scott Baker’s ongoing recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery just got more complicated.

According to beat writer Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, Baker was diagnosed Sunday by Cubs doctors with a muscle strain in his right elbow — the same elbow that was surgically-repaired last April.

Baker entered spring training hoping to crack the Cubs’ Opening Day rotation, but he began developing renewed elbow soreness pretty early on and will now be shut down for the next four weeks. If he’s lucky, he’ll be ready to go at some point in late July.

Baker signed a one-year, $5.5 million free agent contract with the Cubs this winter, which looked like a bargain at the time but is now trending in the direction of a bust. The 31-year-old right-hander owns a decent 4.15 career ERA and 1.26 career WHIP in 958 career major league innings.