Hendry Appears Set; Baker Next?

With general manager Jim Hendry all but officially set on a contract extension, manager Dusty Baker's future could be soon determined.

Hendry has said in the past that he enjoys working with Baker and unless the Cubs go on a horrific two-month slump, Baker should be retained.

"I'm not worried about it," Baker said. "I'm glad for Jim, big time, but it's business as usual for me. My primary thing is to go home and beat the Cardinals. My whole thing -- and I haven't changed one bit -- is for my team to play well and win and everything will take care of itself. Money is important to everybody. But you can't have money as your primary focus. Your primary focus is winning."

Baker is in the final year of a four-year, $14 million deal. He said he may represent himself in negotiating a new deal. His former agent, Jeff Moorad, is currently an executive with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

REPLAY: The Cubs are hoping that pitchers such as Glendon Rusch, Jerome Williams and rookie Sean Marshall can hold down the fort while Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Wade Miller are mending from injuries.

But Rusch and Williams were roughed up on Wednesday. Rusch gave up four runs on six hits in four innings and picked up the loss in an 8-6 setback to Cincinnati at Great American Ball Park.

NOTES, QUOTES

--C Michael Barrett allowed Cincinnati's Ryan Freel to steal three bases on Wednesday and also had a passed ball and made a throwing error.

"It was a frustrating day for me," Barrett said. "I just couldn't get the ball down to second base. It's partly my job to stop the running game, and I didn't have success doing that. I have to pick up something that maybe I'm tipping off in my setup. But I have to keep them from running all over the place."

--1B Derrek Lee his hit first homer of the year Wednesday, but he knows it was a gift. The sixth-inning shot off of Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo came right after Reds C David Ross dropped Lee's popup in foul territory.

--RHP Mark Prior, who hasn't thrown off a mound since March 12 because of shoulder discomfort, is scheduled to throw off the mound in a bullpen session this week. The Cubs say it is too early to determine when he will take the next step and face hitters or be able to return.

--RHP Kerry Wood will continue to face hitters Friday in a batting-practice setting. Wood, who had surgery last August and knee surgery in March, hopes to be back later this month, but the Cubs are not sure when he will be ready for a minor league rehab assignment. He may need a few more batting-practice sessions before heading out to the minors.

--LHP Sean Marshall, who makes his major league debut in a nationally televised night game against St. Louis on Sunday, pitched three simulated innings during Tuesday's off day in order to stay in his routine.


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