The son of Dusty Baker will be allowed to stay in the Giants' dugout at the World Series this weekend, although the manager will keep a more watchful eye on the young bat boy.

Baker spoke with the commissioner's office yesterday about the near-accident in Game 5 on Thursday night in which 31/2-year-old Darren Baker wandered into a play at the plate and almost got run over.

The close call sparked debate over whether Darren was too young to be so close to the game.

"It's not going to happen again," Baker said. "I'm hoping that he and other kids aren't prohibited from being in the dugout. I'm not proud of it. I don't like seeing my son all over TV in that light. Some people think it's cute, but I don't."

Baker said he did not fear for his son's safety.

Baseball doesn't have an age limit for when someone can start working as a bat boy, leaving that up to the individual teams.

"There is no prohibition, no directive or major league rule which prohibits someone that age serving as a bat boy," said Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner's office.

"We don't intend to prohibit it. But on the other hand, I'm sure even Dusty would agree great care is appropriate for someone of his age under those circumstances. I'm sure that care will exist and had been arranged, and last night was a one-time occurrence."

Darren has been a presence in the dugout for about two months and has become a good-luck charm for the team.

When J.T. Snow scored on a seventh-inning triple by Kenny Lofton in Game 5, he discovered Darren in the middle of the action. The boy was standing directly behind Angels catcher Bengie Molina, with David Bell charging home at full speed.

An alert Snow scooped up Darren and pulled him to safety.

Lofton is Darren's favorite player, and the youth was trying to beat other bat boys out of the dugout to retrieve the leadoff hitter's bat, Baker said.

"Usually he stands behind me and I tell him to go before he goes out," Baker said. "That time, he was going to get a jump on everybody. We were all watching the ball. We thought it was potentially a home run."

Both Baker's mother and wife did not want Darren to participate in any more games. The manager's mother even scolded him by phone after Game 5.

TV Ratings Tumble

A blowout in Game 5 produced another new television ratings low.

San Francisco's 16-4 victory over Anaheim on Thursday night got a 10.0 rating and 17 share on Fox, Nielsen Media Research said.

The rating, the lowest ever for Game 5 and the second lowest for any game, was down 31 percent from Game 5 last year, the New York Yankees' 3-2, 12-inning victory over Arizona, which got a 14.4/24. This year's overnight rating was down 24 percent from the last regional World Series, the 2000 Series between the Yankees and New York Mets. The Yankees' 4-2 Series-winning victory in Game 5 that year got a 13.1/21.

If Needed, Lackey Is Ready

If Ramon Ortiz's sore right wrist prevents him from starting a seventh game in the World Series on Sunday, the Anaheim Angels might turn to rookie John Lackey.

Ortiz has been bothered by tendinitis in his wrist since Wednesday, the day after his last start.

"Ramon got treatment today," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. "His wrist feels much better. We're exploring a bunch of options."