Notes: Cubs place Dempster on DL
Oblique strain shelves right-hander; club adds Petrick
CHICAGO -- The Cubs needed to make a roster move Tuesday to add another pitcher to the mix, but the transaction wasn't the one rumored to happen.
The Cubs placed pitcher Ryan Dempster on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left oblique and added right-hander Billy Petrick from Double-A Tennessee.
Dempster has not pitched since Friday. The move gives the Cubs 11 pitchers, and manager Lou Piniella has said he wants to get to 12. When they'll make another move remains to be seen.
"We were hoping 'Demp' could avoid [the DL]," said Cubs general manager Jim Hendry, who wanted his closer for the weekend series against division leader Milwaukee. "He said he felt it even jogging, and didn't see any way possible he could be ready by the weekend."
Hendry said they made the "obvious" move. What also was going on Tuesday were talks with teams, including the Florida Marlins, regarding outfielder Jacque Jones. His playing time has been limited with the addition of rookie Felix Pie, and Jones was batting .234 in 63 games with two homers and 20 RBIs.
Jones signed a three-year, $16 million deal with the Cubs in December 2005, and the Cubs would likely have to pick up a large portion of that contract if they deal him. Any trade involving cash considerations over $1 million would require approval from the Commissioner's Office.
Why has he struggled this year?
"I don't know," Piniella said. "I wish I had an answer. He works hard, he's a really good kid. He wants to do well. I don't know."
Jones sat at his locker Tuesday after rain-interrupted batting practice, surrounded by reporters who had heard the Marlins rumor. Hendry walked into the clubhouse at 5:59 p.m. CT, and talked to Jones after the media had left at 6:05 p.m.
"We were working hard on some trade possibilities," Hendry said. "At the end of the day, I decided it wasn't a good deal for us."
The Cubs general manager admitted he didn't want to be "rushed" into a deal. He also had kept Jones abreast of what was happening.
"I've had some honest conversations with [Jones] and he knows where I stand," Hendry said. "I've told him that I always do what's best for the Cubs first, and I'm cognizant of what's good for the player.
"It's not right for me to talk about other clubs," Hendry said. "We worked hard, and at one point we were close to a deal but at the same time, we couldn't round it off."
Teammates: Cubs outfielder Cliff Floyd could empathize with Jones and the situation he is in.
"It's very hard to wake up and come to the ballpark, not knowing if you're playing or being traded," Floyd said after Tuesday's game. "You don't know if you should be packing."
Floyd did talk to Jones before the game, and will continue to be supportive. Floyd knows what's going on. He's been traded three times.
"I'm here for him," Floyd said. "But the words you use -- 'It's going to be all right.' How does that sound?"
A little weak, considering Jones may have to relocate his family.
"We may need him tomorrow," Floyd said. "The man's a good player and a good person."
Piniella said he also talked to Jones, but had no details about the rumored deal.
"I don't get too involved in that scenario," Piniella said.
Penmanship: Petrick's father, Billy Sr., was probably more giddy than his son about his call up to the big leagues. This season, the 23-year-old right-hander was 1-2 with a 2.57 ERA with two saves in 24 relief appearances between Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee.
"We'll get him in as soon as we can," Piniella said. "We'll at least get him to warm up and get some of the goose bumps out of the way."
Petrick is from Morris, Ill., and was a third-round pick in the 2002 Draft.
"We all grew up Chicago fans," Billy Sr. said. "I don't like to see the Cubs or the Sox lose."
His son called home Monday, and nonchalantly asked his dad what was new. When Billy Sr. asked his son what he was doing, the youngster said, "I'm packing." That's when the father knew.
"It was a sleepless night," said the proud father, who picked up his son at O'Hare Airport. "We had to go out and buy some clothes so he looks presentable."
Petrick has thrown at Wrigley Field before, doing so in a tryout camp in 2002 before the Draft.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Petrick, the Cubs switched pitcher Wade Miller to the 60-day disabled list.
Petrick could expect to be called upon as soon as Tuesday if needed. One pitcher Piniella was going to avoid was Bob Howry, who has appeared in four of the last five games.
"In fact, I told him [on Monday] night after the ballgame, 'Just stay in the dugout, don't even go in the bullpen,'" Piniella said. "That will take away the temptation. I'm serious -- he's pitched a lot."
Leadoff man: Alfonso Soriano has hit 15 home runs, and 14 of them have been solo shots. Maybe moving him down in the order would give him more RBIs?
"He's been very productive out of the one hole," Piniella said. "I don't see why we need to alter that."
Piniella pointed out that Soriano isn't leading off every inning. He prefers to keep him batting first.
"That's what we signed him for," Piniella said. "I don't see any reason to move him anywhere else."
Batting champ: Scott Eyre hasn't notched a hit since since Aug. 9, 2003, against Philadelphia. He had one at-bat in 2006, and has 12 in his career with two hits. Two. Total.
On Monday night, he picked up his 13th at-bat when he grounded out.
"I haven't taken batting practice since last year in June," Eyre said. "I did it in Spring Training, once."
Relievers are not allowed to take batting practice during the season.
"I can make contact," Eyre said. "I'm not going to get hits, but I can put the ball in play. I'm not going to make a fool of myself. I have my own batting gloves, my own helmet. I used my own bats. Maybe I should use someone else's, but I used my own."
History lesson: The last time the Cubs gave up six or more runs in the ninth inning or later at Wrigley Field, yet still won the game was Sept. 17, 1947.
In the second game of a doubleheader that day, the Giants scored six runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game at 10. Bill Nicholson gave the Cubs a 12-10 win with a two-run walk-off homer. Since then, the Cubs have given up six or more runs in the ninth inning or later at Wrigley 24 times and lost them all until Monday's game vs. the Rockies.
Extra bases: Kerry Wood had to leave the ballpark because heavy rains apparently flooded his residence. ... Derrek Lee has six home runs. In 2005, the year Lee won the batting title, he hit 27 homers by the All-Star break. "I don't have any concerns," Piniella said about the lack of power, "but I don't have an answer for you either. I think the home run balls will come." ... The Wrigley Field ushers saluted Anton Migursky for his quick reactions and tackle of the fan who ran onto the field in the ninth inning Monday. "They don't belong on the field, that's obvious," Piniella said of the fans.
Minor matters: John Webb gave up five runs on nine hits over six innings in Iowa's 5-4 loss to Albuquerque. Webb was named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week after throwing eight scoreless innings in a start against Nashville. Geovany Soto and Josh Kroeger hit back to back homers. ... Kevin Hart gave up one run, unearned, on six hits over six innings in Tennessee's 2-1 11th inning loss to Carolina. Hart struck out seven. ... Mitch Atkins gave up five runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings in Daytona's 6-3 loss to Tampa. Chris Amador went 4-for-4 with a double, solo homer and two RBIs. ... Peoria lost 15-3 to Wisconsin. Russ Canzler had two hits.
On deck: Carlos Zambrano, who matched a career high with 12 strikeouts in his last start against the White Sox, will close the Cubs' series against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. The right-hander is 1-4 with a 3.14 ERA in seven career starts against the Rockies. First pitch is scheduled for 1:20 p.m. CT, and the game will be broadcast on WGN.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.