Baker uncertain about future with Cubs

Updated: August 27, 2006, 11:29 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Manager Dusty Baker said Sunday he "sometimes" feels he has a future with the Chicago Cubs, and made it clear that sometimes he does not.

Baker is in the final year of a four-year contract and general manager Jim Hendry has said only that his manager is secure for the rest of a disappointing season. The Cubs were 54-75 entering Sunday night's game against the Cardinals.

"You put yourself in my position, what would your answer be?" Baker asked reporters. "It's not only Jim, it's the whole picture. Just period.

"I'm not going to be the overwhelming favorite. You hear about who's available, who's going to take your job, who's this and that, and that leads to 'sometimes.'"

The Cubs have been hurt by injuries to frontline pitchers Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, along with Derrek Lee, last year's NL batting champion. Lee could return soon after missing most of the year with a broken wrist, although Wood and Prior will both finish the season on the disabled list.

Wood was placed on the 60-day DL on Sunday to make room on the 40-man roster for 29-year-old rookie left-hander Les Walrond, who was to start the finale of the three-game series against the Cardinals.

Whatever happens, Baker said, he's ready for it.

"I'm not even going to address that issue anymore because we've got five weeks of baseball left and I plan on doing my job and enjoying my job," Baker said. "I love my job and I love baseball and I love what I'm doing. It's been my life for so long."

Baker said he's received hate mail throughout his playing and managing career regarding race, including this season.

"This is something that's been there on and off for 20 years, longer than that probably," Baker said. "It's not the majority of the time, it's sometimes.

"Everything I've said [about it] has been the truth and I've left out quite a bit."

Baker criticized sports talk radio hosts in Chicago who suggested he fabricated some letters this season. He said he's shown some of the mail to the radio hosts.

"You don't fabricate stuff like that," Baker said. "Some of the people love me and some of the people don't. We've all got it."

He reasoned the negative element will always be there.

"Some things change," Baker said. "I think most things change, and some things remain the same. I have no animosity in my heart about it. It's life."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press