Twins decline option on RHP Baker’s contract

MINNEAPOLIS — Not surprisingly, the Minnesota Twins announced Monday that they have declined the $9.25 million option on right-hander Scott Baker’s contract for the 2013 season.

Baker missed all of 2012 after having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He began experiencing elbow discomfort during spring training and was later shut down for the season before it even began.

During the Twins’ 99-loss season in 2011, Baker was the team’s best starting pitcher. He went 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 21 starts — including 7-5 with a 3.01 ERA before the All-Star break. But he missed time with a right flexor strain that landed him on the disabled list twice.

Even with his injury concerns last year, the Twins had hoped that Baker could help solidify an otherwise unstable starting rotation in 2012. But the 31-year-old right-hander never threw a pitch this season, and Minnesota’s rotation was shaky from Opening Day to the last game of the year.

Last week, the Twins also declined a $6 million option on reliever Matt Capps’ contract for 2013. Both Capps and Baker are free agents, and both players knew it was likely that their options would not get picked up.

Still, Baker expressed interest at the end of the season in remaining in Minnesota if the club were to have interest in bringing him back for less money.

“I’d like to be back (in Minnesota),” Baker said late last month. “I mean, I know there’s other great organizations out there, but this is all I know. I’ve been here, and I’ve enjoyed my time here, my family likes it here. There haven’t been any talks yet, but I’ve let them know that I’m definitely open to hearing what they have to say.”

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