Senate Minority Leader Howard Baker Jr. (R-Tenn.) said yesterday he has signaled Ronald Reagan that he does not especially care to be his running mate.

Baker said he had not discussed the vice presidential situation with the former California governor but has "talked to his close associates."

"I've told them that I do not especially want to be a vice presidential nominee and I do not expect to be," he told reporters.

In response to a question, he said that if Reagan told him he was needed on the ticket, "I would do it."

"But I do not expect that. I do not want that, and I have signaled to Gov. Reagan that I do not want that to happen," he said.

Baker was quite disappointed in 1976 when President Ford selected Sen. Bob Dole as his running mate and is said this year to be trying to avoid a similar letdown by professing little interest in the vice presidency.

He said he has recommended a number of persons to Reagan's principal advisers as "particularly qualified" to be vice presidential nominees.

Among them, he said, were Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, Sen. John Danforth of Missouri, Gov. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Sen. William Cohen of Maine, and George Bush, the former U.N. ambassador who is Reagan's opponent for the nomination.