Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Reds Give Baker Two-Year Contract Extension

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Reds Give Baker Two-Year Contract Extension

Article excerpt

Cincinnati Reds owner Bob Castellini couldn't imagine manager Dusty Baker leaving.

Baker, 63, got a two-year contract extension Monday, giving him another chance to take Cincinnati deep into the playoffs. They've been there twice in the past three years, failing both times to get past the division series.

Baker missed the Reds' National League Central Division title celebration this year because he was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat and a mini-stroke. He returned and lost ace Johnny Cueto at the start of their series against San Francisco, which ended with the Giants rallying to win Game 5.

The team's first big question of the offseason was whether it would bring Baker back for another try.

"This is Dusty's team," Castellini said. "These fellas are poised to go deeper and deeper in the season. To not bring Dusty back or not ask Dusty to come back was out of the question."

Baker is feeling much better, and the Reds have the nucleus of their 97-win team returning next year, including one of the deepest pitching staffs in the major leagues. When the club offered another two-year deal -- same as the last one -- Baker quickly agreed.

"It's very much the same contract and very much the same thing for all of us up here: There's work left to be done," Baker said. "I didn't want to leave on a note that we still have work to do.

Girardi attends funeral

Jerry Girardi was memorialized Monday as a dedicated laborer who built the ranch-style Illinois home where he raised five highly successful children -- two doctors, a math professor, an accountant and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi. The Yankees manager, who attended the funeral service on an off day in the ALCS, sat quietly alongside his family. None of the Girardis spoke and they left the church quickly to attend the burial in Tampico, a tiny north- central Illinois town known as the birthplace of Ronald Reagan. Jerry Girardi died Oct. 6 at a residential treatment center in nearby Metamora, Ill. …

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