First, congrats to the Sox' Mark Buehrle on his perfect game today. As I said over on Scot's Sox blog, that's an achievement that should be applauded by all baseball fans _ Sox, Cubs, whatever.
On to the Cubs. Look for pitcher Ryan Dempster to return to the rotation either next Thursday against the Astros at Wrigley or Friday against the Marlins in Florida. There was talk while the Cubs were in Philly that Dempster would be back as early as Sunday, but that won't happen.
Cubs people tell me today that Dempster had X-rays today on his broken right big toe, and that they turned up "excellent" results. Dempster will begin a running program tomorrow and take it through Sunday. Kevin Hart will pitch Sunday against the Reds, and the Cubs could simply slot Dempster into Hart's slot next Friday. But Thursday is still an option, depending on what manager Lou Piniella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild come up with.
Here are a few off-day tidbits:
--Shortstop Ryan Theriot has a five-game hitting streak, during which he's 7-for-19. Theriot has played in 92 of the Cubs' 93 games this year. His .300 BA is tops among Cubs who've played all season. He also has a nice OBP of .355. With the heavy workload, I'm sure the day off did him some good. Lou will have to watch it with Theriot in the second half so he doesn't burn out.
--Kevin Gregg has converted his last 8 save chances and is 19-for-22 this year.
--Aramis Ramirez is 10-for-46 (.217) since coming off the DL because of the dislocated left shoulder. He's got a homer, a double and 4 RBI in 12 games since coming back.
It’ll be good to be back at a ballpark tomorrow.