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Ryan Dempster To Return After The All-Star Break


June 5, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster (46) reacts after giving up his first base hit to Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Cody Ransom (not pictured) in the sixth inning at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE

An injury that was first believed to be a precautionary for starting pitcher Ryan Dempster is starting to become a tad more serious.

Dempster was placed on the disabled list on June 13 with what was classified as a strained lat muscle. At the time, no one in the Cubs organization believed that the injury was serious. In fact, Dempster had pitched through the injury in his previous two starts prior to him being placed on the disabled list. Unfortunately for the Cubs’ front office, Dempster’s trip to the disabled list came at a time when trade interest in the veteran starting pitcher was at it’s highest point. There was belief that Dempster could have been traded the week that he was placed on the disabled list.

However, Dempster’s injury has put a stop sign on any trade discussions that the Cubs are having about the starting pitcher. Meaning the Cubs are not going to trade Dempster to a team like the Los Angeles Dodgers or New York Yankees until Dempster is activated off the disabled list. The Cubs are firmly against trading Dempster while he is on the disabled list. A move that is possible as that is how the Chicago White Sox acquire starting pitcher Jake Peavy a few seasons back.

Dempster’s injury, however, has not limited the amount of teams that still have strong interest in the 35 year old starting pitcher. In fact, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Dodgers have a strong interest in Dempster and are viewed as team that will most likely land Dempster when he is activated from the disabled list.

This should surprise no one. The Dodgers might have been close to pulling the trigger on a trade for Dempster when the pitcher went on the disabled list, so it stands to reason that same deal will still be on the table when Dempster returns from the disabled list. That deal could include Dodgers’ pitching prospect Zach Lee. Lee is 20 year old right handed starting pitcher that was the first round selection of the Dodgers in the 2010 draft. Lee entered the 2012 season being ranked #62 on Baseball America’s list of top 100 prospects. Lee began the season with the Dodgers’ High-A affiliate and started 12 games while positing an ERA of 4.55 to go along with 52 strikeouts and only 10 walks. Lee was recently promoted to the Double-A level and struck out 7 while allowing 1 run in his first start with the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate.

The question now becomes when will Dempster return from the disabled list. Chicago Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum told reporters that Dempster will not return until right after the All-Star break. The second half of the season for the Cubs begins on July 13 when the Cubs play the Arizona Diamondbacks. That time-frame means that Dempster could have only one more start left for the Cubs before a team like the Dodgers’ make a trade for the veteran starting pitcher.

As for who will take Dempster’s spot in the rotation while he is out, it certainly will not be Randy Wells. Wells cleared waivers and have been outrighted to Iowa. Chris Volstad is an option. Volstad struggled in his time with the Cubs earlier this season, however, he has seen some success with the Iowa Cubs. Volstad is 2 and 3 with the Iowa Cubs while posting an ERA of 4.44 in eight starts.