Piniella Shuffling Rotation Again

With Carlos Zambrano out, right-hander Ryan Dempster is the de facto new ace of the pitching staff. As such, manager Lou Piniella wants to get him as many starts as possible.

Once again, Piniella has shuffled his rotation. Originally, he had Dempster pitching Saturday against the White Sox and right-hander Sean Gallagher going in Friday's series opener.

Piniella said Wednesday he's flip-flopping the two. By Piniella's math, that gets Dempster one additional start before the All-Star break.

Dempster worked eight innings Sunday in a 7-1 victory over the White Sox. Because Dempster had a recent complete game and went only five innings the next time out, Piniella had wanted to back him off.

But Dempster threw only 103 pitches against the White Sox. Couple that with ace Zambrano being on the disabled list until at least July 4, and Piniella feels the need to pitch Dempster as often as possible. Two-fifths of the initial starting rotation is missing, with Zambrano hurt and lefty Rich Hill struggling in the minor leagues.

CUBS 7, ORIOLES 4: The Cubs scored four times in the first inning and twice in the second. Chicago batters drew 10 walks, including three by Jim Edmonds, who homered leading off the fourth. Ted Lilly worked seven innings, giving up five hits and four runs, all coming from a pair of two-run homers by Jay Payton. Kerry Wood earned his 20th save.


--RF Kosuke Fukudome was a late lineup scratch because of what the Cubs described as left calf tightness. The club said the injury is not serious. Fukudome is day-to-day, but he's unlikely to play Thursday afternoon.

--LF Alfonso Soriano will have more X-rays taken Friday of his broken left hand. He has been on the disabled list since June 12. Soriano has been throwing and doing cardio work. He is supposed to be out a total of six weeks, but he's shooting to come back before the All-Star break. That's iffy because of the bone break. The Cubs are hoping to have Soriano back right after the break. Manager Lou Piniella said he wouldn't be opposed to Soriano playing in the All-Star Game if his hand is OK.

--C Geovany Soto had his first multi-RBI game since June 10. It was Soto's 11th multi-RBI game of the season. He was 2-for-3 with two walks and three RBIs. He entered the night 2-for-13 on the homestand.

--SS Ryan Theriot got his on-base percentage back over .390, to .391, as he went 2-for-4 with a walk, a double and two runs.

--LHP Ted Lilly ran his home winning streak to five. He's 8-5 overall with a 4.74 ERA. His curveball didn't come around late against the Orioles, but once it did, it was biting. Lilly also went 2-for-4 at the plate, recording the first multi-hit game of his career.

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