The 31-year-old Baker returns to a big league mound today for the first time since September 24, 2011 with Minnesota at Cleveland, a season in which he was limited to only 23 appearances (21 starts) due to a right elbow injury that eventually required Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on April 17, 2012, forcing Baker to miss that entire campaign.
Baker signed a one-year deal with the Cubs last November and has spent the 2013 season rehabbing from the surgery. Baker made eight rehab starts as part of his return, going 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA (18 ER/29.2 IP) with Single-A Daytona (0-1, 2.84 ERA, two starts) and Single-A Kane County (1-2, 6.17 ERA, six starts).
The righthander joined the Cubs after pitching all or part of seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins (2005-11), the club that originally drafted him in the second round of the 2003 Draft. Baker is 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA (442 ER/958.0 IP) in 163 appearances, all but four as a starter, and reached 28 or more starts in three-straight campaigns (2008-10). Baker has struck out 770 batters while walking only 224 in 958.0 innings, an average of 2.1 walks per nine innings.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Baker averaged 13 wins, 30 starts and a 4.11 ERA during three seasons (2008-10), earning the Opening Day start for the Twins in 2010. In his most recent season, Baker went 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA (47 ER/134.2 IP) in 23 appearances (21 starts) with the Twins in 2011.
Ransom, 37, batted .203 (32-for-158) with 10 doubles, nine home runs and 20 RBI in 57 games with the Cubs this season.