UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 30, at 2:40 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos
Dusty Baker's recovery from his recent stroke has gone extremely well and he will likely be back with the team on Monday.
If everything goes as planned, Sunday will be bench coach Chris Speier’s final day as acting manager. Dusty Baker will be in St. Louis tonight and back on the bench managing on Monday for the final three-game series. Baker missed his 11th game Sunday as he’s been recovering from an irregular heartbeat, followed by a minor stroke.
The Reds are one of four MLB team's to have clinched a playoff birth and one of two team's to have sealed a division title. Getting Baker back for the postseason is an extremely positive development for the team.
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As Sheldon reports, Baker was admitted into a Chicago hospital last Wednesday and diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. He suffered the stroke as he was being released from the hospital on Friday.
Reds bench coach Chris Speier is expected to manage the club through the Pittsburgh Pirates series on the weekend. Baker hopes to be ready for the Reds' closing series to the regular season against the St. Louis Cardinals from Oct. 1-3.
The 92-61 Reds have already clinched the NL Central this season under Baker's guidance after going 19-11 in August. It marked the second time the Reds have won the division since Baker took over in 2008.
As a three-time NL Manager of the Year, Baker has certainly earned his stripes. He won the award three times with the San Francisco Giants (1993, 1997, 2000).
Baker was also a two-time All-Star as a player, winning the World Series in 1981 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Reds certainly are hoping for an expedient recovery for Baker so they can get ready for the playoffs this season. As one of only three teams to have eclipsed 90 wins so far in 2012, Cincinnati is definitely not a club to take lightly.
Contrary to past years, the team's pitching (3.40 team ERA) has helped it soar this season, as starting pitchers Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo have been particularly solid. Closer Aroldis Chapman has saved 35 games for the Reds.
If Baker can fully recover by the time the postseason hits, don't be surprised if the Reds do some damage and go on a run with that pitching staff.