Baker ready to test elbow on Sunday

Scott Baker said Sunday's outing is "a big deal' as he recovers from elbow surgery. Mike Janes/AP Photo

Scott Baker will make his Cubs and Cactus League debut on Sunday.

The Cubs signed Baker in the offseason as a free agent. Since having surgery Baker has been rehabbing his right elbow ligament, which was replaced on April 17, 2012.

Baker pitched in a minor league game on Tuesday.

"He is progressing well," said pitching coach Chris Bosio. "He has stayed on his throwing program the entire time.

"The biggest thing for him is to try and control his excitement of getting back out there. He has never gone through this and doesn't know what to expect, but he is progressing well."

Bosio said Baker will throw 40 to 50 pitches in his outing against Kansas City in Mesa.

"This is a big deal," Baker said. "I went through the whole spring training last season fighting it and trying to push away the pain and discomfort. To get out there and compete again will be a lot of fun. As long as I am progressing and feel good physically and make pitches than I am happy with where I am at."

Cubs manager Dale Sveum said on Wednesday that he is optimistic that Baker will be on the mound by mid-April.

"The health of my arm is the No. 1 concern," Baker said. "The rest will come when they think I am ready to help the team win. The training staff and the medical staff have done a terrific job with the rehab process and I really put my faith in the fact they want this to work out as much as I do”."

Baker admits there have been some challenges over the past eleven months of recovery.

"The process is something everyone who has this surgery must deal with," Baker said. "The most important thing for me is to continue to feel good after I pitch. Like anyone else I do have some sore days. As long as I feel good for the next outing that is par for the course."

Baker has a career record of 63-48 with a 4.15 ERA. He is the only pitcher in the projected Cubs rotation who has won more games than he's lost.