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Well-prepped Baker ready for starting role

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CHICAGO -- With Welington Castillo on the disabled list with a strained left rib cage, John Baker is now the Cubs' regular catcher. He's already started 14 games behind the plate, two more than he did last season with the Padres.

Baker didn't get a chance to catch the Cubs' starters much in Spring Training, but he has caught their bullpen sessions, and he's done so on purpose.

"I feel that as the backup catcher, that's something you have to do in case this type of situation happens, so you're prepared, and you know what the ball does," Baker said of knowing a pitcher's tendencies. "You don't want to go in there blind -- 'Hey, what have you got, bud?'"

Baker said that he has to always be ready.

"In my position, it's different than playing left field," he said. "I'm always ready to play every day. Nothing changes in my routine now, except I take it a little bit easier in the weight room, and I don't do as much extra stuff."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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