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Reds Manager Baker Had Mini-Stroke, May Return for Final Series

Dusty Baker may return for the Cincinnati Reds’ final regular-season series after suffering a mini-stroke while in the hospital last week.

The 63-year-old Baker had the stroke Sept. 21 as he was being discharged from Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He had been hospitalized three days earlier with an irregular heartbeat and was absent when the Reds clinched a Major League Baseball postseason spot.

His cardiologist and neurologist “are going to make sure I’m ready to handle the duties of managing before I return full time,” Baker said in a statement yesterday on the National League team’s website. “I’m feeling much better and it’s great being back here in Cincinnati.”

Pitcher Bronson Arroyo said it was fortunate that Baker was still in the hospital when the stroke occurred.

“If the same events would have occurred and maybe we were on the plane, then it would have been a lot worse,” Arroyo said. “We’re going to have him back, which is nice to know.”

Bench coach Chris Speier is in charge of the team while Baker, who managed his 3,000th career game last week, recovers.

The Reds’ final regular-season series against the St. Louis Cardinals is scheduled for Oct. 1-3.

The Reds last night beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 to improve to 93-61 for the season. Cincinnati leads the NL central by 9 1/2 games over the Cardinals, who beat the Houston Astros 4-0 last night.

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