Ryan Dempster was as good as gone a week ago, but it took until
mere moments before the trade deadline for the Chicago Cubs to cash
in perhaps their best chip.
Dempster was dealt to Texas on Tuesday afternoon, leaving Casey
Coleman to fill his spot in the rotation hours later when the Cubs
host the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Chicago (43-58) had a deal in place last week to send Dempster
to Atlanta, but the right-hander didn’t approve the trade, his
right as a player who’s spent 10 years in the majors and five with
the same club.
Dempster stated a preference to join the Los Angeles Dodgers,
but in the end reportedly expanded his list to include the New York
Yankees and Texas. It was the Rangers who wound up getting him,
sending minor league right-hander Kyle Hendricks and infielder
Christian Villanueva to the Cubs.
That move came on the heels of two more during Monday’s 14-4
rout of the Pirates (58-44). Chicago sent catcher Geovany Soto to
Texas and also shipped pitcher Paul Maholm and outfielder Reed
Johnson to Atlanta.
“It isn’t comfortable to go down there and make moves,” general
manager Jed Hoyer said. “I’m glad in this case it didn’t impact the
The Pirates, meanwhile, acquired outfielder Travis Snider from
Toronto for reliever Brad Lincoln after Monday’s loss and were busy
again Tuesday. Pittsburgh sent outfielder Gorkys Hernandez to Miami
as part of a deal for first baseman Gaby Sanchez, then shipped
Casey McGehee to the Yankees for reliever Chad Qualls.
Snider is set to debut Tuesday in right field and bat second,
but the Pirates’ biggest concern after the series opener has to be
slowing down the Cubs’ lineup. Darwin Barney finished a double shy
of the cycle while Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro also went deep
as Chicago posted a season high in runs.
“You’re going to take beatings from time to time,” Pittsburgh
manager Clint Hurdle said. “Things just got away from us a little
Things haven’t gotten away from A.J. Burnett (12-3, 3.52 ERA)
very often. He held Houston to a pair of solo homers and two
singles over 7 1-3 innings Thursday in a 5-3 win, his 11th in his
last 13 starts.
Burnett will look for a sixth victory in as many matchups with
the Cubs. He tossed 5 1-3 innings in outdueling Dempster in a 1-0
victory at PNC on May 25.
Burnett will try to win 13 games for the first time since 2009,
when he was with the New York Yankees, and help the Pirates avoid
their first three-game skid since June 24-26. He earned a
career-high 18 victories in 2008 with Toronto.
The Cubs will turn to Coleman (0-1, 7.32) for the right-hander’s
first major league start since Sept. 26. He had a 4.50 ERA in his
first 15 appearances this season in Chicago before allowing seven
runs over 1 2-3 innings June 27 against the Mets and earning a
ticket back to Triple-A Iowa.
He wasn’t any better in the minors, going 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA
in four appearances – three starts.
Coleman held the Pirates to two runs – one earned – over six
innings on Sept. 3 in a game the Pirates rallied to win 7-5.