CINCINNATI - Ryan Dempster has done just about everything for the Cubs: started games, closed games and started a playoff game.
One thing he has never done is start a home opener at Wrigley Field.
That'll change Monday, when Dempster goes against the Milwaukee Brewers.
"How about that?" he said Sunday. "Wow. I never thought about that. I'm excited. Any game at Wrigley Field is a lot of fun. The first home opener ought to be special for me. Hopefully I can go out there and get a win. I'm excited and ready to go. Just go out there and treat it like any other start."
Before entertaining reporters Sunday, Dempster spent much of his morning studying Brewers hitters at one of the laptops in the clubhouse.
Against the Brewers, Dempster is 11-3 with a 2.69 ERA in 39 games, 17 starts. Last year he was 3-1 against the Brewers with a 3.67 ERA.
He turned in a quality start last week in Atlanta, working 6 innings and giving up 1 run but not getting a decision as the bullpen let a lead get away.
Dempster is one of the longest-tenured current Cubs, having joined them in 2004 and rehabbing from elbow surgery. He has 37 victories and 87 saves as a Cub. Teammate Derrek Lee, who also joined the Cubs in '04, said he's glad Dempster is making his first opening-day start as a Cub.
"He deserves it," Lee said. "He had a great first start. He had a great spring. He had a great last couple seasons. He deserves it."