NEWS: Dempster and Soto Could Return Soon

Jake KarmelCorrespondent IIJuly 17, 2009

PHOENIX - APRIL 29:  Manager Lou Piniella talks with starting pitcher Ryan Dempster #46 of the Chicago Cubs during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 29, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Cubs 10-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Near the end of the first half, the Cubs were bitten by the injury bug once again. Geovany Soto and Ryan Dempster both went on the DL.

Dempster, who broke his toe on July 5, has been throwing on flat ground and doing cardio work while he waits for the inflammation to go down in his right big toe. Reports are pointing to Dempster returning possibly in late July.

Pinella gave some encouraging words when it came to Dempster. "Talking to Larry [Rothschild, pitching coach], he seemed to think the second [turn in the rotation] after the break is not out of the question."

Dempster had his big toe examined again on July 15. He had another x-ray and it came back clean. A definite good sign if you're a Cubs fan.

Soto, who strained his left oblique, has been working at the minor league complex in Mesa as of July 17. According to, Soto is making great progress and the team doesn't feel the need to look for outside help at the catcher position.

Assistant General Manager, Randy Bush said on, "We're exploring other things but we're also encouraged that Geovany Soto—we're hopeful—he's feeling really good the last few days. We're hopeful he's turned the corner and this could be a short-term thing. We don't want to put any time frame on it. We're encouraged where he's at."

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Soto's backup, Koyie Hill, will be back behind the plate Friday for game two of four versus the Nationals. Jake Fox, who caught the final two innings of the night game last Saturday, will continue to be the backup to Hill.

Jake Karmel