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Baker hints at returning to Reds next season

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the final season of a two-year contract, Reds manager Dusty Baker rarely discusses or takes questions about his future. That was not the case on Friday afternoon.

While in his office before his team's workout in preparation of Saturday's National League Division Series opener vs. the Giants -- on TBS at 9:30 p.m. ET -- Baker appeared to be very relaxed as he listened to music at his desk. He subtly hinted about his intentions to return to Cincinnati and didn't seem like a lame duck.

"The way I look at it, we'll get even better in the future," Baker said. "The more mature these guys get, we've got a bunch of guys here still learning how to hit, still learning how to play, basically."

Does that mean he will be back in 2013? Baker's face cracked a smile.

"This is my team, you know," Baker replied.

After the workout, Baker was fielding questions in the interview room when his contract status was brought up by a reporter.

"I plan to manage," Baker said. "I've been through this so many times, so I've learned not to worry about something that's really out of your control right now. The only thing that's in my control is to win ballgames, and God is always taking care of me. I know people don't want to hear that, but God has always taken care of me, so why wouldn't he take care of me now?

"I'm not worried and, God willing, I'm going to manage some more because I think I'm getting better and I'm still enjoying it. As long as I'm enjoying it, and as long as my family doesn't object, I will be somewhere."

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has not publicly discussed Baker's future and has repeatedly said it would be handled after the season.

The 63-year-old Baker, who is ranked second among active managers with 1,571 wins, missed 11 games in September after being hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat and then suffering a mild stroke. The episode left Baker not only appreciative of his life and family, but also his team, which he says he genuinely likes.

"Maybe [the stroke] was a sign I am supposed to stay maybe where I am," Baker said. "I believe in signs, so sometimes it happens."