7/7 Dempster's big toe

Ryan Dempster suffered a non-displaced fracture in his right big toe after he climbed over the fence in front of the Cubs’ dugout at Wrigley FIeld after Sunday’s game, and will miss his scheduled start on Tuesday vs. the Braves.

Lou Piniella said the Cubs feel the best case scenario is that Dempster will be sidelined three weeks, but most likely will be out one month. What happened?

“Sunday after the game, I was coming out of the dugout and I was stepping over the top of the railing and I caught my left foot on the rail as I was coming over,” Dempster said. “It spun me around and slammed me into the ground. When I did it, I thought I ripped my nail back on my foot. Unfortunately, the result wasn’t funny.”

Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee was laughing when he saw Dempster’s awkward fall.

“I’m sure it looked hysterical from his angle,” Dempster said. “The unfortunate part is my foot, because of the way it hit, came down straight into the ground. My toenail was ripped back and bleeding.”

The plan was to get a shot to ease the pain. But X-rays on Tuesday revealed the fracture.

“I’ll just drink some Incredible Hulk juice,” Dempster said. “It’s a weird thing.”

In his last start, Dempster took a ball off his shin and kick-saved one to himself. He also took a ball off his face in batting practice recently and was fine.

“I’d like to have some nice gratifying story, like I broke up a double play or something and saved the game, but I don’t,” he said. “I wasn’t going to make up a story because somebody would find a video. … That’s what I get for making fun of guys who go on the DL for burning their faces in a suntan booth.”

He’ll get X-rays again before the Cubs go to Washington for the first series after the All-Star break. In the meantime, he’ll get treatment and keep his foot elevated. Dempster, who could barely walk into the interview room to talk about the accident, planned on pitching Tuesday, but said the risk wasn’t worth the reward.

This is not a Cubby occurrence.

“It’s a coincidence,” Dempster said.

Did Lee apologize for laughing?

“No, I think he’s still laughing at me,” Dempster said.

Piniella found out when he got a phone call at lunch.

“Well, we were healthy for a day,” said Piniella, who got Aramis Ramirez, Reed Johnson and Angel Guzman back on Monday. “We had a pretty good idea this was more than a stub or a bruise or strain.”

Kevin Hart, who was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room for Guzman, was called back and will start on Wednesday in the series finale vs. the Braves. Zambrano is pitching on short rest, and will start Sunday night against the Cardinals in the last game before the break.

— Carrie Muskat


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