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BOS@CHC: Dempster shuts down Red Sox to extend streak

Ryan Dempster will take the mound for the Cubs on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh, but there's no telling where his mind might be.

The 35-year-old righty has been weighing trade options in recent weeks and could be pitching for a new team any day now, with next Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline quickly approaching. Dempster has been weighing his options, with the Braves and Dodgers among the clubs in negotiations with the Cubs for a deal.

"I want to look everything over first before I make a decision, and I've got time to do that," Dempster said on Tuesday. "The Chicago Cubs are going to do what's best for the Cubs, and I have a chance to do what's best for me, and I'm going to try to do that."

But for now, Dempster -- 5-4 with a 2.11 ERA -- is still in Chicago, and the club will continue to proceed with him in the rotation until a move is made.

"He's starting tomorrow," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said on Tuesday. "That didn't even cross our mind, to hold anybody out because of what might happen. You don't start taking people out of lineups or miss starts because of rumors. You don't take him out of the rotation until it happens. Until [Cubs president of baseball operations] Theo [Epstein] calls and tells me something happened, you don't change anything."

The only thing the Cubs are hoping will change is Dempster's performance from his most recent outing.

Dempster had a scoreless streak of 33 innings snapped in an eight-pitch span during the first inning against the Cardinals on Friday. Still, Dempster's streak is the seventh-longest scoreless stretch in Cubs history, matching that of Ken Holtzman, who posted 33 straight scoreless innings in 1969.

"It's a humbling thing to think about something like that," Dempster said. "You dream about doing things like that, or think it's impossible. To actually do it is another thing."

Dempster eventually settled in and gave up just three hits after the three-run first and will hope to ride that rebound into his start at Pittsburgh, where he is 0-1 this season. The righty pitched 7 1/3 solid innings at PNC Park in May, giving up just one run on seven hits.

The 15-year veteran is 8-12 with a 5.18 ERA lifetime against the Pirates and will oppose 10-year vet Kevin Correia, who is 7-6 with a 4.31 ERA this season but has not been beaten in three July starts.

Correia, who was stellar on the road last season, is looking to keep Pittsburgh from taking a three-game sweep.

Cubs: Rizzo learning on the job
• With 2012 turning into a rebuilding year, the Cubs are happy to have their future stars face the learning curve now. Anthony Rizzo is doing just that. The rookie first baseman had his first multi-strikeout game of the season on Monday, fanning three times against three left-handed pitchers.

"Obviously, you want better at-bats,"but that's part of the learning process, especially facing specialist left-handers," said Sveum. "The starters in the big leagues are the best in the world. The experience alone is the valuable thing in all of this -- it's the experience you gain going into the rest of your career."

Rizzo has played in 23 games this season, posting a .311 batting average, four homers and seven RBIs.

• Cubs righty Matt Garza, who was pulled from Saturday's start because of cramping in his right elbow, has set Monday's game against the Cardinals as the earliest he might return. Garza is set to continue treatments and will be examined again on Friday in Chicago.

Pirates: Rotation adds an arm
• In exchange for three prospects, the Pirates acquired southpaw Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros after Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the Cubs. The 33-year-old lefty went 7-9 with a 3.79 ERA in 21 starts for the Astros this season, with his most recent outing being a quality start against National League Central-leading Reds.

• The Pirates have now dropped back-to-back home games but still hold a 32-16 record at PNC Park.

The club is looking to avoid its first home sweep of the season but is still on pace to finish with its first winning record at home since 2006, when it went 43-38.

"We know if we score four, five, six runs, we've got a pretty good chance of winning here," said Neil Walker.

The Bucs have managed only one run over the past two games.

Worth noting
• By falling on Monday and Tuesday, the Pirates lost a series at home for the first time in nine tries.

• The Cubs are 29-16 when scoring at least four runs in a game. Comments