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When the Chicago Cubs surprisingly put top pitcher Ryan Dempster on the disabled list last week following a brilliant start at Wrigley Field against the Boston Red Sox – a start many speculated would be his last at Wrigley – everyone had a theory. A trade had already happened. A trade was close to being completed, and the Cubs wanted to make sure Dempster didn’t get hurt. Dempster  had leveraged his no-trade clause into a couple weeks off while he got his affairs in Chicago in order. And on, and on, they went.

My theory at the time? Dempster really did have a mild lat issue – I wouldn’t even call it a strain – and the Cubs were being extremely cautious while Dempster’s value was at its highest so that he didn’t hurt himself while the trade market was still developing. A source later confirmed that was the case.

And now it sounds like Dempster is saying the same thing, as well. Dempster recently spoke with Paul Sullivan about the injury, and it sounds like it’s a legitimate – albeit minor – issue that Dempster is dealing with, and hopes he recovers from soon.

“You can feel as good as you can just walking around, but until you actually throw and see how it feels …” he said. “But it feels a whole lot better than it did.”

In relation to trade rumors, Dempster continues to keep his head down until there’s something actually brought to the table.

“Just trying to simplify it, control what I can control,” he said. “The trade rumors now are kind of irrelevant until something comes up. That’s fine. I just try to do my job. More than anything, the DL stints have been frustrating because they’ve been little things, [missing] two starts and hopefully two or three starts [this time].

“I pride myself on being able to pitch every fifth day, but I always want to make sure I’m healthy when I go out there.”

Of course, some of this could still just be Dempster tapdancing. But, you’ve got to understand – these guys don’t want to miss time on the DL for no reason. He is expected to throw for the first time since his injury today, and could be back as soon as the first day he’s eligible to come off the disabled list (July 1).

Dempster also addressed theories about his start against the Red Sox being his last. He hung out on the field with friends after the start, so surely Dempster was having something of a going away party, right?

Nah.

“No, my buddies came down that day and they wanted to go out on the field and play catch and stuff,” Dempster said. “It just happened to coincide with rumors about getting traded. We’d talked about [the trip] back in March …. I’m not an idiot. I know what’s going on. I just try and enjoy it …. I think I’ve done enough [to appreciate Wrigley] over the years to enjoy where I’m playing and really love where I’m playing, and to not need that moment to reflect. And I don’t think I’m done playing anytime soon, so I have a feeling I’ll be pitching a lot of times at Wrigley Field.”

I still very much expect Dempster to be traded by July 31, but I remain unconvinced that his current DL stint is about anything other than a mild lat injury, and the Cubs trying to protect a valuable asset.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    This post felt so lonely having been buried by the RizzOMG…

    Also, I wanted to test something.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      Don’t feel lonely Brett. Haha, I don’t care if Garza got traded today, nobody would care.

  • http://www.dccoffeeproducts.com John

    I will be your test subject- Thanks again for all the updates- I do appreciate it- sometimes reading the whiners get old but i appreciate all the info you put out. Keep up the good work and hopefully the little one is feeling much better.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, John. She got well just in time for both me and The Wife to get sick.

  • http://www.dccoffeeproducts.com John

    Bummer- I feel your pain- it is no fun. Keep the faith and God Speed!!

  • http://bleachernation.com #1lahairfan

    Best of luck to wherever he might go.

  • Doctor_Blair

    Dempster pitched the first game I actually saw at Wrigley Field. I bought his jersey that day and wear it to work every other Friday (I alternate between that and the only other jersey I own, which is a nameless blue road jersey). Admittedly, it’s to piss off the myriad of Cardinals fans (really, what do they have to complain about???), but it’s also because Dempster is one of my favorite players in MLB today. He’s a standup guy, good family man by all accounts, hard worker, and a hell of a pitcher. I would absolutely love to see him stay with the Cubs because of all of those reasons and because he doesn’t seem prone to the head-games pitchers get themselves into (the first 3 months of the 2011 season aside). However, I very much appreciate how much he seems to be coming to bat for a good trade for the Cubs right now, and I too hope he gets traded to a contender (that I can stand to root for).

  • Beer Baron

    Was there ever an answer to why the Cubs moved Dempster up one day in the rotation just prior to his final start if he had been experiencing the pain for the previous 2 games? I know they said the reason was to give Samardzija another day of rest, but if they knew Dempster was hurting too why would they take a day of rest from him? I’m not saying one caused the other,but the only way for a strained muscle to get better is rest so it just seems to defy logic.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Shrug. They say it was all about Samardzija, and since they’ve juggled the rotation for him before this season, I buy it.

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