7/21 Dempster close to returning

Ryan Dempster will have an X-ray taken Thursday of his right foot, and if he is still making progress, he could return to the Cubs rotation next week.

Dempster, who broke a bone in his right big toe on July 5, could start as early as July 30 in the makeup game vs. Houston.

“Larry [Rothschild, pitching coach] seems to think that if Dempster’s X-ray is good on Thursday, he can throw a simulated game over the weekend of 50, 60 pitches,” Piniella said, “and he could be in the rotation any time from Thursday on. That’s how he feels. If the X-rays show the bone hasn’t fused, then we have to wait a little longer. We’ll know Thursday.”

For the Cubs’ upcoming series vs. the Reds, it’ll be Randy Wells on Friday, Ted Lilly on Saturday and Kevin Hart on Sunday.

— Carrie Muskat

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