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Cubs, right-handed pitcher Ryan Dempster agree to four-year contract extension11/18/2008 3:01 PM ET
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs and right-handed pitcher Ryan Dempster today agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Dempster, 31, went 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA (68 ER/206.2 IP) in 33 starts for the Cubs last season in his return to the starting rotation. He set a career high and tied for third in the National League in wins, ranked fourth in the league in ERA and was third with a .227 batting average against. Dempster allowed only 14 home runs in 206.2 innings and turned in 21 quality starts, tied with Ted Lilly for tops on the team. A 2008 National League All-Star, Dempster began last season 10-0 at Wrigley Field, the first Cubs pitcher to do so since Rick Reuschel in 1977. Dempster finished the campaign 14-3 at the Friendly Confines, the most victories by a pitcher at Wrigley Field since Fergie Jenkins won a franchise-record 15 games in 1967 and the most by any Major League pitcher at home since Atlanta's Russ Ortiz won 14 games at Turner Field in 2003. Dempster last season returned to the Cubs rotation after serving as the club's closer the previous three years, combining to save 85 games from 2005-07. In 2008, he became just the second big league pitcher in the last 40 seasons to post 17 wins a year after a 25-save season (Dempster saved 28 saves in 2007). Detroit's John Hiller had 38 saves in 1973 and 17 wins in 1974. The righthander last season worked at least six innings in 25 of his 33 starts and at least seven innings in 12 outings. The club went 22-11 in his starts, a .667 winning percentage, and Dempster ranked fourth in the league with a .769 winning percentage. Dempster also set a franchise record with 19 sacrifice bunts in 2008, the most by any pitcher in the Majors in 2008. Dempster is 76-81 with 87 saves and a 4.55 ERA (721 ER/1425.0 IP) in all or part of 11 Major League seasons with Florida (1998-2002), Cincinnati (2002-03) and the Cubs (2004-present). Since joining Chicago prior to the 2004 campaign, Dempster has gone 26-26 with 87 saves and a 3.59 ERA (184 ER/461.0 IP) in 259 appearances, including 39 starts. In addition to 2008, Dempster was a National League All-Star with Florida in 2000. The club's 2008 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, Dempster works closely with Cubs Care and Chicago Cubs designated charities that support youth sports, children with special needs, victims of domestic violence and additional charities in the Lakeview/Wrigleyville community, including the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, Children's Memorial Hospital & University of Chicago Comer's Children's Hospital, the Sheil Park Playlot Renovation and the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Illinois.
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