Back trouble means Cubs’ Ryan Dempster will miss Monday start
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org July 3, 2011 8:48PM
Updated: July 4, 2011 2:12AM
Maybe it’s something in the lake breeze or the ivy pollen. Whatever the cause of the bug, it hit the Cubs’ pitching staff again Sunday, when the last guy standing from the season-opening rotation went down with a stiff back.
Ryan Dempster was scratched from his start today in Washington after a stomach virus that required intravenous fluids and a brief hospital stay this weekend turned into a problem with his back.
Dempster avoids the disabled list, at least for now. He and the Cubs anticipate he will be well enough to pitch during the upcoming seven-game road trip.
Prospect Casey Coleman, a right-hander the Cubs wanted to see get a couple of more starts at Class AAA Iowa, was recalled to make Dempster’s start today. Rookie reliever Chris Carpenter was optioned to Iowa after the game Sunday to make room on the roster.
It comes two days after the Cubs lost Carlos Zambrano (back) to the DL. Zambrano’s next scheduled start, Tuesday, will be filled by recently signed veteran Ramon Ortiz (6-3, 4.26 ERA for Iowa).
‘‘As the days have gone by, I’ve just gotten pretty locked up in my back,’’ said Dempster, who pitched eight impressive innings in his last start Wednesday. ‘‘I’m just trying to get that worked out. I feel better today. I don’t know what caused it. I’m trying to figure it out myself.’’
For now, it means every member of the opening rotation will have missed at least one start because of injury in the first 86 games. Four needed time on the DL, including two, Zambrano and Andrew Cashner, who are there currently.
The Cubs’ poor season might have cost left-hander Sean Marshall an All-Star bid, as the team was left with a lone mandatory selection for the third consecutive year.
‘‘It’s disappointing in a way,’’ said Marshall, who got some heavy lobbying help from manager Mike Quade during the process. ‘‘But it’s tough to make the All-Star team as a reliever. And Starlin Castro’s been out there for almost every single game for us, making diving plays and hitting the heck out of the ball. We’re excited for him. . . .
‘‘It’s great just to be in consideration for it.’’
Ortiz, 38, joined the team from Iowa on Sunday and threw a between-starts bullpen session. Quade said Ortiz’s status in the rotation will be evaluated again after his start Tuesday.
† The announced attendance of 42,311 on Sunday was the largest home crowd of the season and the largest for a Cubs-Sox game at Wrigley in the 15 seasons of the interleague rivalry, beating the previous record of Saturday.