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Dempster dominates in no-decision

Don't let the 0-1 record fool you. Ryan Dempster's return is a good one for the Cubs.

Dempster, who had been on the disabled list since April 17 with a quadriceps strain, will start for the Cubs on Thursday against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Before going on the DL, Dempster was pitching lights out. In three starts, he surrendered just three earned runs and struck out 23 batters, going at least six innings in each outing. He hasn't been backed with much run support, and his record has suffered.

The Cubs will be getting two pitchers back, with Kerry Wood also coming off the disabled list and heading back to the bullpen.

The Reds are no strangers to Dempster. The Cubs' right-hander has appeared in 42 games against his former team, starting 18 times. He has a 7-8 career record against Cincinnati, and a 6-3 record at Great American Ball Park.

Dempster will turn 35 on Thursday and will face Homer Bailey, who, coincidentally, will celebrate his 27th birthday. Bailey is 1-2 on the season with a 3.60 ERA. In his last outing against the Giants, Bailey allowed two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings, striking out six. Bailey has made seven career starts against the Cubs, going 3-2 with an ERA of 5.77.

Cubs: LaHair's share
First baseman Bryan LaHair has hit six of the team's 11 home runs this season. The Cubs rank last in baseball in homers.

• To make room for Dempster, the Cubs will need to make a roster move. The likely candidate to return to Triple-A Iowa is Randy Wells, who replaced Dempster in the starting rotation during his absence.

• Alfonso Soriano closed April with zero home runs, marking only the second time since his rookie season in 2001 that he went homerless in the first month of a season. Last April, Soriano belted a career-high 10 home runs.

Reds: Bruce named Player of the Week
Jay Bruce was named National League Player of the Week on Monday, and he went 1-for-3 with a double in his first game since the announcement. It's the fourth time Bruce has earned the honor, leaving him one shy of Eric Davis' franchise record.

• Scott Rolen has hit 504 doubles over the course of his career. His next two-bagger will tie Tony Perez for 49th on the all-time list. Babe Ruth is next, with his 506 doubles ranking 48th all-time.

Worth noting
• Tuesday's rainout was just the sixth in the 10-year history of Great American Ball Park. Comments