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Reds give Baker two-year extension

CINCINNATI — Reds owner Bob Castellini couldn't imagine Dusty Baker leaving.

The 63-year-old manager 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 NL Division Series.

Baker missed the Reds' NL Central 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 nucleus of the Reds' 97-win team is returning. 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.

"I don't want to leave in a situation where for the rest of my life I would have regretted not coming back with unfinished business. It would have left a real pain in my heart to feel the way I did at the end of the season."

IZZY DONE?: Angels RH reliever Jason Isringhausen reiterated in a radio interview that he's likely to retire after 16 seasons in the majors. "At this point, I'm pretty sure I'm done, but if some GM is dumb enough to want to sign me, I might come back for another year," said Isringhausen, 40, who appeared in nine games for the Rays in 2009.

PHILLIES: Wally Joyner was hired as assistant hitting coach under new hitting coach Steve Henderson.

RED SOX: The team interviewed Yankees bench coach Tony Pena for its vacant managerial post and plans to interview Orioles third-base coach DeMarlo Hale this week.

TWINS: Director of minor-league operations Jim Rantz, 75, is retiring after 52 years with the team, which included stints as a player, manager, public relations official, scout and farm system coordinator.

Reds give Baker two-year extension 10/15/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 15, 2012 9:11pm]
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