Astros Dusty Baker option
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Astros exercise 2021 club option for manager Dusty Baker

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Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston reports that the Astros have picked up the 2021 club option for manager Dusty Baker. MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart adds that the 2021 options for third base coach Gary Pettis and pitching coach Brent Strom have also been picked up.

Baker, 71, was hired by the Astros in late January, replacing A.J. Hinch. Hinch was suspended by Major League Baseball for one year and subsequently fired by the Astros for his role in the club’s cheating scheme in 2017.

With managing experience spanning parts of 23 seasons with now five teams — the Giants, Cubs, Reds, Nationals, and Astros — from 1993-2020, Baker has a career record well above .500 at 1,866-1,637. Somehow, he has never won a World Series and has only won one pennant with the Giants in 2002. If the 2020 regular season and subsequent postseason can actually be played despite the pandemic, the Astros may give Baker his best shot to win it all.

Baker’s Astros are off to a 3-1 start to the 2020 season. They were expected to be the top contender in the American League along with the Yankees and Twins. Baker will have to lead the Astros to the promised land without ace Justin Verlander, who is sidelined for a bit due to a forearm strain.

Diamondbacks place Bumgarner on IL with back strain

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PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks ace Madison Bumgarner has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a mid-back strain.

The left-hander was lifted after two innings Sunday against San Diego due to back spasms.

The Diamondbacks placed Bumgarner on the injured list Monday and selected the contract of right-hander Jeremy Beasley from their alternate training site.

Bumgarner allowed six runs on five hits in two innings against the Padres to remain winless since signing an $85 million, five-year deal with Arizona last offseason. The four-time All-Star has seen his velocity dip into the upper 80s this season and has a 9.35 ERA after Sunday’s start.

Bumgarner was a four-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion in 11 seasons with San Francisco.

Beasley will be making his major league debut.