Dempster delighted with one-triple-per-decade pace
Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster had a friendly bet going with speedy center fielder Tony Campana.
In the second inning of Friday's 3-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox, Dempster tripled down the right-field line on a ball Boston's Adrian Gonzalez dived for but could not catch.
Dempster thus had his second career triple and his first since May 12, 2002, when he was with the Florida Marlins.
"I try to spread my triples out every 10 years," he said. "I was excited to finally get to utilize my wheels. Campana and I had a bet, actually, and I won. Imagine that. I'm feeling pretty good about that."
Campana did steal two bases in the first inning, scoring on Steve Clevenger's 2-run double. Campana may trail Dempster in triples, but he has 23 stolen bases. He entered the day leading the major leagues.
But Dempster's pitching had manager Dale Sveum the most pleased. The Cubs ace worked 7 shutout innings, giving up 4 hits.
"Incredible," Sveum said. "Seven innings. He did give up some hard-hit balls. But just the way he can make pitches has been phenomenal all season with that cutter and split and throwing the cutter and getting the cutter on the left-handers' hands, pitching up in the zone. He's got so many different ways to get people out, and he's been pulling it off day in and day out."
If catcher Geovany Soto comes off the disabled list Monday, the Cubs may keep three catchers. Steve Clevenger holds the top spot now, and Welington Castillo just came off the DL.
Soto is rehabbing at Class AAA Iowa from left-knee arthroscopy, and Castillo is fresh off the DL after spraining his right knee. Dale Sveum likes Clevenger's left-handed bat and ability to play first base.
"We're going to talk about it this time," Sveum said. "We'll just see what happens. But we'll definitely talk about it a little more."
Getting a long look:
Luis Valbuena started his second game since Thursday's call-up from Iowa. He is 0-for-6 at the plate, and he committed a ninth-inning error Friday. Still, Dale Sveum said he likely would give Valbuena the bulk of the playing time while Ian Stewart (wrist) is on the DL.
"There's his defense, a left-handed bat, he can drive the ball; I'll keep him in there," Sveum said. "He was swinging the bat real well down there so you try to keep that left-handed bat in that lineup as much as you can."
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