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updated: 7/19/2012 6:51 PM

Demp still a Cub -- for now

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  • If Thursday was starter Ryan Dempster's last day in a Cubs uniform, he didn't let on, playing catch with his son and insisting he didn't know of any trade rumors.

      If Thursday was starter Ryan Dempster's last day in a Cubs uniform, he didn't let on, playing catch with his son and insisting he didn't know of any trade rumors.
    Associated Press

 
 

Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster spent much of Thursday's pregame playing ball with his son, Brady, on Wrigley Field.

A farewell lap around the park before he's traded? Dempster didn't make it sound that way, even though he's been the subject of numerous trade rumors.

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So far, Dempster still is scheduled to start Friday night's series opener at St. Louis.

"It's great to hear teams are interested, but there is nothing imminent as far as I know of," he said. "I am sure if they have something they will come to me with it, so right now, I am getting ready for tomorrow's game."

Dempster has the right to veto any trade involving him as a player with 10 years and the big leagues and five with one club. He has talked earlier this season with team president Theo Epstein, but he said Thursday he hasn't heard much from the bosses of late.

"I think that I just keep my focus on the right things, and that's going out there when I need to pitch," he said. I've been doing that."

As an interesting side note, the Des Moines Register reported late Thursday afternoon that pitcher Casey Coleman was scratched from his start for the Cubs' Class AAA Iowa farm club.

However, the Cubs made another roster move after their game, acquiring right-handed pitcher Justin Germano from the Red Sox for cash considerations and designating reliever Jairo Ascencio for assignment. The Cubs say the Coleman scratch has nothing to do with an imminent Dempster trade, that it's a precaution in case Germano can't get to St. Louis in time for Friday's game.

All right now:

Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker don't start a lot of games, but when they do, they try to make the most of it. Both right-handed hitters were in the lineup for Thursday's 4-2 victory over the Miami Marlins, who started lefty Mark Buehrle.

Johnson was 2-for-4 with a 2-run double and a diving catch in right-center. Baker was 2-for-3.

"It's good," Johnson said. "Obviously, we struggled early in the season against left-handed pitching. One of the reasons was I think me and Bake weren't swinging the bat all that well. Those are a couple of guys in your lineup you're bringing in to expect them to do well against lefties.

"Now, we've got those right-hand specialists that are usually coming off the bench in other games that are coming in and playing well against lefties. Hopefully, that's getting some other guys going, taking the pressure off some other guys, as well."

This and that:

Alfonso Soriano hit his 18th homer. After going without a homer for the first 30 games of the season, he has all 18 in his last 55 games. Soriano also became the 13th player in Cubs history to hit 150 homers with the team … The Cubs have won 10 of their last 12 at Wrigley Field and are 24-21 at home.

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